The white sheet and the black dot

Miquel Barceló (Mallorca, 1957), Gran elefant dret.
«I was one of a group of boys who sat on the floor of our professors’s office for a weekly lesson in “spoken English”. One day the professor put a large sheet of white paper on the wall. The paper had a little black dot on the right-hand corner. When the professor asked, “Boys, what do you see?” we all shouted together “A black dot!” The professor stepped back and said, “So, not a single one of you saw the white sheet of paper. You only saw the black dot. This is the awful thing about human nature. People never see the goodness of things, and the broader picture. Don’t go through life which that attitude.”

Life teaches you lessons in surprising ways and when you least expect it. One of the most important lessons I ever learned came from a sheet of paper and a black dot. They may seem like small things, but they were enough to prompt big changes in my outlook on life.»
Kofi Annan (*1938), exsecretari general de les Nacions Unides (When We Were Young (2005), compilat per John Burningham).