We Don’t Always Know the Why’s

We don’t always know why things happen. Yesterday it was 75° here. And by this evening we will be enjoying the snow. With 2 – 5 inches due by tomorrow.  Most people here don’t understand why the weather changes so fast. The only thing we can say is, “Welcome to the wonderful world of Colorado weather.” This may be an extreme example, yet the idea behind it is real for more than just Colorado. We see this throughout our lives. We see things happen both good and evil, and can only ask ‘Why?’

We try to attach meaning to events to make them more understandable.  And yet, why a plane ends up in the sea, or a car crashes or anything else happens, is often beyond our understanding.  Many times, I see things, and I can only ask why because I don’t know.  Why did this or that happen? Why?

I do not want to blame everything on random chance.  I also do not want to blame all tragedies on pre-ordained fate.  As a process engineer who believes in continuous improvement, I know that as we understand more, safety and health improve.  And, in this, there is some understanding.  Because someone a long time ago stood next to some shiny leaves and got a rash, we now know to stay away from poison ivy.  Someone had to make the error so the rest of us could learn.

The next time something happens, we could blame it on fate.  We can blame the pre-ordination of man, or we can empathize with the who and what, and learn something that could help us, and everyone else.

It is hard to say why things happen.  I know I do not understand a lot in the larger scheme of things. I do know that time, life, and knowledge are essential.  I feel I need to pay more attention.

Thanks for being with me today.  I hope to be with you again tomorrow.

Puzzles and Tools

I love to solve puzzles. Wooden puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, escape the room puzzles, sudoku, and crossword puzzles. I like to work on all kinds of problems. It keeps my mind sharper, there is a feeling of euphoria when solving a hard puzzle, and I find insights into some of my other concerns that I might’ve missed otherwise.

Some people hate puzzles, and I understand why. Many times, the person working the problem is looking for an easy solution or something with just a few steps in it. Failing to find an immediate answer, the would-be puzzle solver gives a shrug of the shoulders and says that the puzzle could not be solved. The next time the particular puzzle style comes around, the person merely says, ‘I can never solve those, it just can’t be done.’

When I was younger, I also used to get frustrated and give up puzzles. Then, I learned and started practicing with a couple of rudimentary mental tools which made solving the puzzle much easier. And later I discovered these mental tools have far greater uses. These tools can actually help us in many other areas of our lives.

I learned that solving puzzles and gaining knowledge in business and life had to start with the belief that the problems could be solved.  This is probably the most important of all the tools. Not believing that something is possible results in never putting forth the effort to actually accomplish it. We may give it lip service, yet most efforts are only halfhearted at best.

My next tool is knowledge. If I believe the puzzle can be solved, then I believe that, in most cases, someone somewhere has done this before. If they can do it, then I should be able to do it. I just need to take some time to explore the possibilities.

My third tool is understanding the possibilities. You need to look at all problems based on possible inputs and possible results. Don’t think about the impossible because more and more the impossible, is becoming probable, and might be able to be purchased within the next five years. Remember, the only thing impossible in technology are some of the folks you’ll meet along the way.

So today I give you three tools, belief, knowledge, and understanding the possibilities. Like any tool, these work best when used often and treated with care. There’s nothing worse than going out to the garden to use a tool and having to brush off all the cobwebs and take time to sharpen it before it becomes useful again.

Well, there’s the mean old master sergeant’s thought again. Thanks for being with me, I hope to be with you again tomorrow.