One of my lecturers at university found one of the great secrets of life, and, rather than publishing it, or telling any one about it, simply wrote it on a piece of paper and displayed it in her office. I'm not even sure that she was aware of its absolute profundidty, but people would go for tutorials with her, and see it there, and be impressed. I was certainly most stunned by its simplicity and far reaching consequences.

It doesn't sound revelationary (I think big truths seldom do). In fact, it sounds small and simple: that, I'm convinced, is one of its best qualities.

Word-processed, on a piece of A4 paper (landcape orientation) blu-tacked to the inside of her door, was this:

the way out is through the door

I took it to mean: 'If you don't like where you are, leave'. And then I thought some more about it: 'Why look for another solution to a problem if there's an obvious and workable one right in front of you?' (a sort of less odd Occam's Razor, if you like).

I've been using this maxim at work a good deal now. And people automatically think it's a way of being asked to get out. But, and here's the thing, once people have been given this idea, work is easier - because they know that the exit is there when they no longer want to be present. In fact, fewer people walk out through frustration, because they know, legitimately, that the door is open.

The last way of reading the line, though, is the best: 'Use the door, and all you end up doing is leaving. Only use it when you want to quit'. The liminality of a door is not something to be faced lightly. If you're not trying to leave, then look for something else to go through.

I certainly look at doors in a different light, now.

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