Work, Fundraiser Chocolate and a Social Experiment

The title of this article may be a little confusing, and in reality, it is, as those things do not usually go together. However, last week, I made it happen.

My wife is of Portuguese decent and her and my kids belong to a local Portuguese organization that every year holds a substantial conference. As a part of this, they usually have various fundraisers throughout the year to raise money and support what they do.  This year was no different, and one of the fundraisers was selling chocolate (‘World’s Finest Chocolate’ to be exact.). I am sure everyone is familiar with this big box of assorted chocolate that contains 60 bars that you are to sell for $1 each. And though we support this cause, we dislike selling chocolate or doing fundraisers, for things that are not well known or affect a lot of people (such as a fundraiser to fight Cancer or another disease). Because of this, we planned to just buy the whole box for $60 and give the chocolate away.

This is where I came up with a great idea. I work for a fairly large company that has kitchens on every floor stocked with free food and drinks. And although we have these stocked kitchens, anytime someone comes in with additional goodies, they disappear in seconds. So I decided to leave the box out, with 1 dollar on top, to see if people will pay for a bar, steal a bar or just ignore the box. On the 2nd day, I would put the box out again without the seeded dollar and on the last day, I would put out a sign asking people to take it all.

I have high hopes for humanity, however, I will be honest when I say I expected all of the chocolate to be gone the first day and less than 50% of the money. I was very wrong. After the first day, in which I seeded the box with $1, there were a total of 13 bars missing and I had $10. So only a few people decided to take a bar without leaving a dollar. I should note that there was no sign informing people to leave a dollar. Just that this is widely known fundraiser chocolate and there was money left on top.

The second day, I made the mistake of leaving the chocolate int he SAME kitchen. People saw the box, with no money on it, however, if they remembered it from the day before, then they may feel inclined to leave money again. And that is just what happened… sort of. At the end of the day, only 4 bars were removed from the box, yet another $2 was left. Had I left the box in another kitchen, then we could have potentially seen a different outcome.

At the end of the 2nd day, I put a note out on the box informing people the chocolate had all been paid for and it was now “Free” and asked them to help themselves. When I showed up on the 3rd morning, the box had 1 bar left. People had swarmed the now obviously free chocolate and taken what they could (which proved my initial point, that people wanted free items.

Obviously, this experiment was not perfect. I did not have a control group. I was not watching over the box, so I have no idea if someone perhaps left 1 dollar and then took multiple bars. I also did not have a way to know what people were thinking in regards to what was left. If I were to do this again, I would try a few things, such as using multiple kitchens with different signs ($1, Free, or no sign at all), as well as different options of watching what went on, as well as a different location (perhaps at my desk) or perhaps a note or some information on what the money was for.

This was by no means a perfect experiment, however, for me it was fun and interesting. I enjoy trying to understand people and their thought process. Do you enjoy little experiments such as this? Share your experiments below, or perhaps what you would have changed in mine!

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Book Review: The Mask of Masculinity

A couple years ago, I started listening to a Podcast titled “The School of Greatness.” I discussed this podcast in one of my previous Book Review posts, as the talent behind that podcast, also wrote a book of the same name. The podcast itself was fantastic as it provided motivation to myself to better myself and find my best me. As I struggled on my journey to find happiness, the podcast and book itself helped guide me and for that, I feel I will always be grateful to Lewis Howes.

Through listening to his podcasts and following his stories on Instagram, I learned a lot about a new book he was working on, that explored men and their problems with masculinity. To be honest, at first I wrote it off. I was picked on a lot as a child and a teen, but felt I ultimately got  over most of it. However, with everything I have been dealing with in the past year, a lot of the problems resurfaced, and through therapy, it was determined that a lot of this landed in the realm of masculinity.

It got to a point I was asking my wife to give me compliments because I felt so low. I am a male, battling body dysmorphia and feeling very un-masculine and I am struggling with it. So with these issues coming to the surface, I decided to read the book. Having now finished the book, I could not be any happier with my decision to do so. The book explores the different types of “masks” we wear as men, by relying on humor, or stoicism. The mask we wears as athletes, husbands, fathers and sons. Each chapter I felt myself finding little things about myself I never realized was an issue. From what you think of when someone asks you to describe a “man,” to how you perceive yourself.

When I was in High School and college I was a competitive swimmer and spent a majority of my time working out and from that was always in shape and had unrealistic ideals of what I should look like. Being around certain people and wanting to be around them has given me the wrong idea of what a “man” is and how those though processes are damaging to not only myself, but my children as well.

As the father of both a son and daughter, I feel it is my duty to better myself to teach them both what a real man is. A real man is not a body builder or a bearded grizzly man that can fix anything that breaks. Not every man can fix a car, or every plumbing issues. Not every man an bench press more than their weight or sleep with every woman he meets. Men come in all shapes and sizes and what is most important is that a real man is a father to his children and a husband to his wife (or husband). A real man treats other people with respect and leads by example. I want my kids to know how a man should act. If my children end up with a man as adults, then I hope that man treats them right, the way I show them by treating my wife. If they have kids, I hope they know how a man should treat his children.

Now a lot of this sounds obvious, but I would not be surprised at how many men know this but still struggle with the various masks that “masculinity” makes us wear. Every man is battling something to overcome. For me, this book was a beacon that helped show me the way to practice what I believed and to be a real “man.”

If anyone is interested in reading this book, I would strongly recommend checking it out on Amazon, or in your nearest book store. This book is also NOT just for men, as women can benefit fromt his as well, especially those that support or want to support their man and help him through all of this as well. Lewis does a great job at the end of every chapter highlighting ways to overcome the various masks and how the women in our lives can assist us as well.

Have you read this book or perhaps “School of Greatness?” If so, please share your thoughts in the comments section below. Or perhaps there is another book similar to this you recommend? I would love to hear about it! Also, please be sure to check out Lewis on Social Media (he is very active on Instagram.)

Please subscribe to my blog or follow me on Instagram. I hope to chronicle my journey in school and connect with like minded people. People who want to learn and grow and help others along the way.