Last week my husband, friend and I visited Magnetic Hill in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada. For those unfamiliar with Magnetic Hill (as I was prior to last week) when you go to “the bottom” of the hill, put your car in neutral and remove your foot from the gas and brake, mysteriously your call rolls “up” the hill. Yes, up the hill.
We took our car to the bottom of the hill and up our car rolled. My friend and I were puzzled. Ok, so we understood that logically it was an optical illusion, but we could not wrap our heads around it. My husband just kept laughing at me and my friend for being baffled.
I wanted to get out and walk it, or roll a ball “down” the hill, but the City of Moncton has made it into a paid attraction preventing that from happening. After speaking to a number of Canadians, I learned that as kids their parents would take them there to experience the car “rolling uphill”. Back then it wasn’t a tourist attraction…just a weird road.
Since returning home to New Jersey I have found out that there are a number of such roads even in my state, but many are monitored by police looking to ticket those who try the mystery out so I don’t recommend it. Just for the record, I learned that online, not from personal experience.
Aside from it being an interesting experience, Magnetic Hill made me stop and think. It definitely felt like we were rolling uphill, but in reality we were going downhill. So my perception of the situation was far from reality.
Often in business I use the phrase, “Perception is reality”, meaning if a customer or peer perceives it one way then that is the reality you have to deal with. Magnetic Hill made me think about that statement from a totally different direction. What I perceived to be true was false. Again logically I understood it but in my heart I did not.
Similar to a magic trick, I know the elephant doesn’t really disappear but my heart wants to believe it does. In some cases, as in magic, it is more fun to believe than to face the reality that the elephant is just being hidden. Although it is more entertaining, and in most cases easier to not look at the truth in some situations it can keep us from understanding or moving forward. As an example, if I perceive I am working hard, but if I look at the reality of it and I am not, by not facing the realism that I need to put more effort in to get to where I want to go, I am only hurting myself.
It is often more comfortable to stay with the illusion and enjoy the “magic” of Magnetic Hill. But in the more serious things in life it benefits taking a look at reality. Only then can we choose to make a change to how we perceive something.
What in your life may you perceive as reality but if you look deeply you can recognize is an illusion?