Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Anger isn’t good for anybody

370801205_efe0fa8d7d[1] I had a weird sort of realization recently about some anger that I’ve been carrying around for some time now.  Up until that moment of realization, I had seen myself and completely justified in my anger.  It has become such a good comforting friend over the past few months that I almost feel threatened at the thought that I should lay it down and walk away.

I’m not saying that I suddenly believed that my anger was not justified.  I still think that I had a right to be angry… but I think that my license expired months ago.  I need to let it go and move on.  Anger isn’t good for anybody, not for the person on the receiving end of the anger and even worse for the person that is carrying the anger around.  I know this, but it’s often hard to see what’s right in front of your face or, in this case, in the mirror.

I do remember reaching a point a few months ago where I was tired of carrying it around before and wanted to let it go because it was weighing me down.  But I don’t think that I saw it in the same way as I do now.  Then I was just tired, I didn’t worry about it anymore.  But now I see it as a personal failure that I have not been able to let it go and spend effort on more important things.  So much wasted energy!  For what!?!

Now, I know that I can’t magically make things all better (nor should I have to), but I need to do something to heal myself.  I must work to consciously not pick up the anger again.  I need to put down the anger and walk away because it’s sapping my strength, and I need that energy for more important things.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Movement != Momentum

Free_Body_Diagram[1] Momentum is an interesting thing.  One of those cheesy “motivational” posters states “Momentum: It is not of importance where we stand but in what direction we are moving”.  Cheesy?  Yes.  Partly true?  Sure.

The problem is that movement can cause the illusion of momentum.  Let’s do a little physics refresher.  The equation for momentum is:


  • p = momentum
  • m = mass
  • v = velocity

If you have friction, you might be able to exert enough force to overcome that friction and move for a brief period of time, but as soon as that force is removed, the counterforce of friction quickly slows things to a stop. 

63969933_0c1e556fcd_m[1]This stop and start movement does not equate with momentum. In terms of your life or team, if you have momentum, one change can trigger another change, can trigger another change, like an avalanche.  Working to get some movement is important, but do not mistake it for momentum.  To get momentum, you need to increase force or reduce friction.  Probably you’ll need both!

Stop and start movement can yield positive results, but it requires too much effort and is not sustainable.  Getting “the big Mo” (as Josh Lyman calls it) is very important to any effort.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Impractical != Impossible

2316418326_a243fddbc2[1] Recently at Utah Code Camp, I got into a conversation about which solution should be used to solve a problem (given that there are multiple solutions… and there normally are).  Somebody (yeah, I didn’t get his name… my bad) mentioned that he had a boss that always looked for the “third best” solution.  This was based on the assumption that 1) the “first best” solution was “impossible” and 2) the “second best” solution was too expensive.  That was supposed to make the “third best” solution the “best” solution.

Well, somebody else commented that an “impossible” solution wasn’t really a solution and I agree!  What he really meant (after some additional explanation) was that it was impractical as he commented that it might be a viable solution in a few years.  Things that seemed impossible only a few years ago are common! 

Think about some examples:

  • Imagine telling someone a few years ago with dialup about streaming high definition video.  Impossible!
  • Imagine telling someone in the era of tube TVs about high definition flat panel displays.  Impossible!
  • Imagine telling someone in era of computers that filled rooms that you would one day have a gigahertz processor and gigabytes of storage in your pocket.  Impossible!

To me this emphasizes the fact that we should be careful how we use absolute terms such as “impossible” or “never” or even “always”.  Using these terms can limit your credibility as it takes only ONE counterexample for you to be proven wrong.  Use them with care!

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