The way to boil a frog is a historical tale and a useful metaphor to explain many forms of change that may be positive or negative. This can be at a personal, organisational or societal level.
To boil a frog it is firstly important to know how not to boil a frog, and that is by trying to place the frog in already boiling water because the frog in shock and surprise will simply jump straight out of the pan, knowing he is about to be cooked.
Instead, you need to place the frog in water that is at room temperature and slowly heat up the water until it is at boiling point. The frog is happy with the room temperature water and does not notice the temperature is rising, staying comfortable until he realises it is too late and that he has been boiled alive.
This is often how we find ourselves in abusive or generally negative situations. Let us take the example of employing a personal assistant who ends up being abusive or just rubbish at their job. If they had behaved badly the first day they started then I would hesitate to let them go, but this is rarely how it happens.
New personal assistants, and like any staff, are often on their best behaviour when they start as they go through the honeymoon part of the relationship. As their confidence in the job grows, bad habits can slowly creep in without being noticed over several weeks, months and even years.
These habits can grow with increased confidence until one morning you wake up and realise you are not employing the person you originally hired. This is often exactly what happens in a marriage when a divorce is required because you no longer recognise the person you married all those years ago.
The metaphor of boiling a frog can also be applied to positive social change. The future as predicted in films and literature can not materialise overnight but it evolves over time. If we look at how we use technology in 2018 with how we used it in 1978, before even the existence of the home computer, I am sure we would find it hard to find a single point in time where everything changed, but rather we will see a timeline of smaller changes that have led us to where we are now.
I know I have some big ideas of how the UK government should support people with impairments in the future. I know to achieve this I have been on a journey and it may be another decade before the government of the day is ready to listen to me and implement my ideas. I have to boil the frog of society slowly and carefully for the norms of society to accept that ALL people with impairments have a place in society.
At the same time, the left is trying to boil society to their way of thinking, with their belief people with ‘severe’ impairments are too defective to have a place in society and must for now be left on the scrapheap until society is ready to accept eugenics and other solutions. This has clearly made my job more difficult although I now accept I need the patience to take the time needed to win the battle and save the lives of people with real impairments, by ensuring the frog is perfectly boiled.
Understanding how to boil a frog helps us understand how change works and how we can better control the changes around us.
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