Monday, November 05, 2012

Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear

I was having lunch with my wife and I happened to chance upon this car with a very special wording imprinted on the side mirrors. It's not the first thing that I came across this particular phrase but it's the first that I've seen printed on the side wing mirror itself. I don't think it's pasted on the side wing mirrors as I did not observe signs of a sticker's edge anywhere. I could be wrong though. Here's how it looks like:

If the words are not clear, it says "Objects in mirror are closer than they appear"

A warning, printed on both the mirrors read, "Objects in mirror are closer than they appear". The first thing that came to mind is that not all images formed by a mirror will appear closer than it really is. Only mirrors that are not flat but convex in nature would have images appearing closer than it really is. So the rear view mirror, which is flat, would have images appearing exactly where it should be, but not the convex side wing mirror. That is, of course, secondary school science knowledge. Good to know.

The second thing that came to mind, is of more importance to me. This is a reflection (haha, the pun) after knowing how successful students can have their past success impeding their future success. Strange isn't it? Past success should contribute to future success, and certainly not impede it! I've read reports where researchers did on gifted and normal students and see how they react to situations totally outside their domain of knowledge. For the gifted and very academically successful students, they tend not to try something that they are not immediately good at. The key word here is 'immediately'. They will give it a shot, and if people who are around them are perceived to be more superior and are receiving all the praise, these gifted students will give up. It almost seems that the gifted students are afraid to lose their excellent track records. If they are not going to be a prodigy in that new area, they are not even going to try it.

On the other hand the normal students, who are average or below average in academic results, will try out the new things until completion. They exhibit a better attitude towards trial and error and are more tolerant of failure. I guess they have nothing to prove and nothing to lose too, and that is exactly why they don't mind suffering all the failures that comes before success is reached.

Perhaps in light of the warning given on the side wing mirror of the car, good students should be given a warning in their report books too. What should it say?

Are you guilty of that too? Perhaps in your investments? Perhaps in your career? Perhaps in your life? Or maybe you've seen someone else do it too?


Ao said...

This reminds me of the tortoise and the hare story.

Maybe the hare would have won the race if he had been given a warning :D

la papillion said...

Hi ao,

I didn't even think in terms of that, haha! But I think you're right. If ample warning had been given to the hare to not place so much emphasis on past success, perhaps it'll not lose to the tortoise, who really had nothing to lose.

Patrick T. said...

Your car is using concave mirror for the driver side so it's the opposite - things will appear closer than they really are which is why you really need a blind spot mirror.

Blind spot mirrors are usually convex mirrors and are supposed to help cover the blind spots at the expense of not truly reflecting the correct distances.

Yes, I am not reading the real message of your post either. Hehe...

la papillion said...

Hi Pat,

Okay, after discussing with you, realised that the driver's side mirror for my car is really concave...that's very interesting point by itself, even though you are not reading the real message, haha!

Singapore Man of Leisure said...


The burden of Great Expectations ;)

I had it easier I guessed.

My former work career, from the perspective of an graduate - looks pretty mundane and prosaic.

But from perspective of O' level school leaver, it's not so bad!

If I need money, I can easily go back to selling sofas. But no so easy if I am a middle-aged retrenched graduate more worried about "face" than providing for my family...

We put silly chains on ourselves sometimes.

la papillion said...


Good to hear from you again :)

There are two sorts of people when faced with great expectations. One would follow the "self-fulfilling" prophecy and will rise up to the expectations. Another would cave in to the stress and rebel. It's just hard to know who would behave like the former and who would, the latter.

Indeed, silly chains.

Derek said...

Hi LP,

How very true. I'm the latter, caving in and on the brink of losing my self. However, there could be a third type of people - neither raising up or caving in.

Like SMOL said, expectations are just silly chains that we tie ourselves with. Why should we be so bothered about it?

Easier said than done... I'm learning.