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Stomped On Blues

Source: Emily Sylvester’s “A Book of Surprises: Games, Stories and Magic for Career Practitioners” 

Notes: Debbie Worobec showed this to me at the 1997 “Building Tomorrow Today” conference in Edmonton. I have since used it with individuals and groups. I use it when someone is telling me the reasons they can’t do or can’t have something. – Emily

Ask a volunteer to stand beside you.
Hand her a crisp, new hundred dollar bill.
You can change the denomination as appropriate to your group.

Ask your volunteer how much the bill is worth.
Then ask her to crumple it up, tight, tight, tight.
Ask her to throw it on the ground and stomp on it, and stomp on it again.
Ask her to grind it in with her foot. Ask her to pick it up and unfold it.

Ask her how much it is worth now.
She will say it’s worth the same amount it did before.

Agree with her, and point out that she is a valuable and unique person.
No matter how often people put her down, stomp on her and grind her into the dirt, her value is not diminished. She will always be unique. No one can take that away from her.

Thank your volunteer and (with a smile) ask for your money back.

Source: Reprinted with permission. "A Book of Surprises" is available at

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