October 12, 2010
There are so many titles that I could give this blog post: discomfort, latency, periphery…but going beyond seemed appropriate for the lesson I just had reinforced by life.
I judged the debris to be limited and I decided to simply to jump (hurdle?) over it and then continue my run. Unfortunately, I misjudged it. My right ankle caught an entangled vine and whipped another vine into the back of my left leg leaving an 8” scratch in the back of my left thigh.
It all happened fast and seemed inconsequential. However, because of endemic Poison Oak, I used a urushiol removal product, Tecnu, along the 8” scratch – just in case. What I didn’t think about is that contaminated region might extend beyond the obvious 8” scratch.
Twelve days later, I learned the hard way that I had indeed been exposed to Poison Oak on my right ankle and on several other areas on both of my legs – except where I had treated the scratch (which was duly healed and gone).
So, my long view advice:
- Consider a bigger region than just the obvious – periphery damage may not be visible.
- Consider the potential for latency – sometimes a problem is not immediately obvious.
In hindsight, I probably could not have avoided the misjudgment that caused the exposure, but I could have used the Tecnu a bit more extensively and liberally (go beyond), but I just didn’t consider it. So, now I’m miserable with itching and angry red welts on my legs and ankle. 😦
Have you considered latency, periphery, and going beyond?
October 1, 2010
I recently had the pleasure of hearing David Brooks speak about politics and his career as a journalist (now for the New York Times). He was both funny and insightful.
Mr. Brooks spoke on many subjects, but I was especially piqued by his observations about one specific character trait that makes President Obama unduly effective in his role as leader – extraordinary CALMNESS.
The story he tells about Obama’s calmness is as follows (paraphrased):
When Obama debated McCain in the 2008 presidential election, each man took turns at the lectern. Both could be seen writing notes onto the provided notepad. An observer later collected those notes. McCain’s notes were jotted words topical to the debate. Obama’s notes were six extremely straight drawn lines.
I deeply appreciate those who have mastery of calmness because I am personally a hyperactive, difficult to sit-still person. Yet I recognize that calmness is an essential ally in gaining mastery over new material or terrain. It is easy (and natural) to panic when a situation seems overwhelming and futile. However, panicking never breeds success.
Having pushed thorough to higher knowledge and performance many times before, I know that every obstacle must be overcome to achieve success. As I continue to push myself professionally and personally, I often find myself in over my head. At those times, I must channel calmness to proceed. My personal mantras (long view advice) for learning new things and tackling more demanding challenges are as follows:
- Breathe deeply through your nose (channel straight lines) – it helps to retain focus and minimizes irrational thoughts about quitting.
- Break down the problem – try simpler versions to validate the strategy or idea before incorporating into more complex scenarios.
- Ask for help – consult someone more knowledgeable and learn from them.
Although #2 (teach oneself) enables deeper learning, don’t wait too long to seek #3 (learn from another), because of #1 (irrational thoughts).
Would you benefit from channeling straight lines?