What Nobody Is Telling You About Boiling Frogs

Dragos Roua
4 min readJan 15, 2021

You know very well this example: if you put a frog in hot, boiling water, te frog will jump out straight away. Survival instincts will kick in instantly. But if you put a frog in normal water, which you then heat very slowly, until the boiling point, eventually the frog dies, because, lured by the slow unfolding of the events, it won’t be able to jump out anymore.

This is used to illustrate life threatening circumstances, like being stuck in abusive relationships, or social rights restrictions, when the toxic threshold is reached in a very, very slow, allegedly innocent, way. And it’s a very good example.

But I find it utterly incomplete and biased. Here’s why.

Simply Put: Because It Also Works The Other Way Around

Let me explain.

The only reason the slowly water boiling trick works is because it inhibits frog’s resistance. There is a certain threshold that activates the survival instinct, and if the frog is put directly into that stage, resistance will kick in instantly. But if we’re able to get the frog beyond that level in a way that will avoid this resistance, then we “made” it. We’re past the trigger, which wasn’t activated, because the situation changed almost imperceptibly.

And the good news is it works like this in any other area of our lives, not only when we’re put in life threatening situations or when our social rights get slowly restricted. It’s an intrinsic behavior of every living being, an inertia that manifests constantly. It’s how we treat reality, how we fit in. We have a certain model about how we should function, and we desperately stick to it, like our life will depend on it. And, most of the time, our life do depend on it.

Based on this model, we created all these resistance switches, that get activated when we perceive a life threatening situation.

But, mind you, these “life threatening situations” are not always what we think they are. They may not always be life threatening, while our ego may still see them as such.

For instance, we may interpret as “life threatening” something that will drastically alter our lifestyle, but in the “good” way. Some change that will have long term…

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Dragos Roua

Story teller, geek, light seeker and runner. Not necessarily in that order.