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Getting the Whole Picture

Posted by David A. Couper, MA on October 16, 2014 9:30 AM

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I was recently in London, Paris and Berlin and noticed how healthy some things were getting!  Everywhere there were bikes you could rent and people were using them.  And people were walking.  Exercise was not something you drove to but was something that was happening as part of your daily city life. 

I also noticed the food.  In all three cities, portions were smaller.  I didn’t see many super size anythings, especially in Paris.  There were also more healthier choices in Paris and Berlin – England still has some way to go on there – but there were fresh vegetables, lighter choices and organic foods.  So even though I ate some wonderful bread in France, drank some great beer in Germany and some yummy curry in England, I didn’t put on weight.

But smoking still didn’t seem to be as much as an issue as it is here in the US and especially California.  People weren’t smoking in restaurants or bars, but they still were outside.  I was surprised how many people seemed to be smoking. 

So what to make of all this?  Looking around at Parisians puffing away on their Gauloises, we might say how they don’t care about their health.  But we would be missing all the other information about diet and exercise.  So how does this apply to other parts of our lives?

I guess we can’t make a decision on only part of the picture.  French people smoke so they are not health conscious.  French people use bicycles so they are health conscious.  The truth lies somewhere between.  We can often judge people we work with based on one action or one character trait, but that may not be accurate.  The person who is late for meetings may be very good at brainstorming or problem solving.  To understand someone, we must know them all.

Photo via Flickr

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