The Devil You Know

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The devil you know is great. You don’t like him per se, but he’s your favorite devil because he is predictable. You know exactly what sets him off or gets him off your back.

His sales pitch is simply: Better than the devil you don’t know! Which isn’t a ringing endorsement. Not really a good enough reason to stick with him.

In seventh grade art class, our teacher used to separate us into four teams. There were four supply cabinets, and each team would get the chance to pick what was behind one of the doors. The odds of winning were stacked against you, with only one cabinet containing a pile of Kit Kat bars. When my team chose one with rocks in it, I was sure it was a joke; that my teacher would say, “Just kidding!” and give us a real prize.

Seriously, three cabinets contained rocks, and one had treats. The game felt demotivating; nay, crushing. To see one team scarfing down chocolate bars while the rest of us didn’t even bother collecting our rocks…It was cruel. Yet, it was real life. We may not have won, but we took a chance!

What that teacher taught us is literally the only lesson I recall from seventh grade.

Let’s get back to the devil. Even if you despise him, you still prefer him to the devil you don’t know. But – the devil you don’t know might not even be a devil. Yet, you’re unwilling to find out. Because the unknown is scary. Change is scary.

It just might be worth the gamble to find out whether the devil you don’t know might be something other than a devil. Even a slightly more tolerable devil is still an improvement.