Growing up in Baltimore, I played defense in lacrosse. Our high school squad was not very large, so each week, leading up to a game, the defense was charged with two tasks. First, we had to learn our defensive plays for the upcoming game, and secondly, we had to play “dummy” defense against our team’s offense, so that they could practice the plays that they intended to use against our upcoming opponents. This system worked well, because each side got to practice their own plays, however after about 10 minutes of playing “dummy” defense, it usually became pretty obvious what the offense was going to do – that is, the defense had memorized the plays.

Although I would have argued it at the time – I was perhaps the worst perpetrator of “playing the play” – I simply found it impossible not to anticipate what I knew was going to happen. Hence, this analogy:

Playing defense against a play that you already know is like knowing the combination to a padlock and then being asked to figure out the combination as if you did not know it.

I remembered this analogy while talking to one of my friends who works in consulting. What if a consultant is asked to research the same subject for two different companies using material proprietary information in each case? How could you ignore the proprietary information from company A (which you already know) while preparing the research for company B?

Thoughts? Other analogies are welcome.

My Favorite Analogy
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