Seeking The Right Answer?

Last updated 2 Nov 2016 . 5 min read

Once a professor was taking a class on Perspective. He asked five of his students to add any two numbers in a way that would give them nine.

Student one:   1 8 = 9

Student two:   7 2 = 9

Student three: 5 4 = 9

Student four:   2 7 = 9

Student five:    6 3 = 9

“All of you are wrong. The correct answer is nine plus zero” He said

“Nine plus zero is correct as well. But Sir that doesn’t mean all the other answers are wrong” Said a student

“But for me nine plus zero is correct. And because none of you gave that answer, I would consider every one wrong” The professor replied

“Just because we didn’t gave the answer you expected, doesn’t make us all wrong. We still gave the right answer.” Argued another student

Professor smiled “Exactly! Just because you didn’t gave MY answer, YOUR answer does not become wrong. This is how life is…” He began to explain

“Being human, we often look at others through the tunnel vision of our own life experience. We grow up learning dos and don’ts, good and bad, right and wrong. And during the simpler years of childhood, this frame serves its purpose. We learn that actions have consequences, and that society considers certain actions unacceptable.

But as we grow older and become adults, we encounter a world whose complexity renders the frames of do/don’t, good/bad, and right/wrong are insufficient and simplistic to guide us through the most difficult, heart-wrenching choices that we have to make.

For example:

Abortion—right or wrong?

Adoption—(giving up a child) right or wrong?

Divorce—right or wrong?

Cutting off a child who is an addict—right or wrong?

Keeping secrets for a friend—right or wrong?

I could go on.

The fact is, there are no right or wrong answers to these choices. Because it is not the answer but the situation in which that answer has been given, matters! Every individual has his own story and experiences. So, circumstances define our answers and our answers define us which eventually leads to individuality.

To put it in simple context, I can say; my approach to life is not similar to yours so my reaction will be different than yours for same incident.

Let me give you a more detailed explanation. I came across this saying recently. 

‘Always put yourself in others’ shoes. If you feel that it hurts you, it probably hurts the other person, too.’

This is a great concept. Putting ourselves in the shoes of the mother who murdered her autistic son because her husband had walked out and she struggled on alone without assistance for years, helps us to understand the desperation that she was feeling. Judging her as a murderer is dead easy. Understanding and accepting her actions as a human requires thinking.

It’s very easy to state categorically that abortion is wrong. It’s much harder to look at the reason why an individual woman made that decision and then nod and say “Yes, now I understand.”

We cannot make decisions straight up. Because In life choices are not only from black and white.

Good people don’t always go to church while bad ones are not covered with tattoos

Right answers are just not what your mother says and wrong ones don’t always come from criminals.

Doing good does not always lead to good ending while doing bad can sometimes lead you to better places.

So henceforth whenever you make judgements about others, put on their shoes first. Stop looking for that one - Right answer. Because right may be different for you and different for someone else.  Life isn’t black and white. It’s truly a million shades of grey.

So always remember, the right answer is, Nine can be obtained by adding many pairs of two numbers!”


Husna Advani Dossani
Husna Advani Dossani holds a bachelors degree in English Literature and has done first year masters in the same. Few of her works are already published. She is passionate about reading and writing, she dreams of becoming a successful author some day.

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