Archive for November, 2012

Specs

The specs are rational. If you have the competency to do so you can add them up and make sense of it. But they rarely tell the full story.

Beauty is subjective. There are loose guidelines (specs), but many of its attributes are too abstract to clearly define.

Unless it’s a landslide in favor of specs beauty will prevail. We will choose the car we like better over the one that can be proven to be better. We have a deep need for beauty in our lives: art, music, love, passion. Without these we are just really smart animals.

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Nanosecond

Stocks are now traded and sold in nanoseconds using automatic, carefully tweaked algorithmically run systems. The timing is so critical that there are actually purpose built, discrete communication networks that do nothing but serve the needs of the market. It’s frightening once you look into it. Fortunes can be won or lost in seconds. Add to this the decimalization of stock values and, as it turns out, there are many more losers than winners, in part due to the innocents caught in the crossfire as hair triggered computer programs cause chain reactions that ripple through the market.

Human decisions are made in nanoseconds as well. However, we often waffle around for much longer periods. We don’t have a clear set of parameters from which to act so we aren’t always accepting of the answers. We question. We doubt. We capitulate. We decide, then change our minds. And that’s where the magic of what it is to be human happens. It’s at once a blessing and a curse to be burdened with complex decisions that rack our brains or hearts. If all the answers were laid out before us in a formula of fate, life would be incredibly tedious.

Landings and the Shallow Water

The transition from flight back to the earth is generally the most nerve racking part of the job for pilots. Whatever margin of error there is in flight dwindles rapidly as the distance to the solid medium diminishes. Likewise walking in the shallow waters of the ocean can be surprisingly difficult. Being in water is not that hard, but the transition of getting out into the water while getting pounded with waves is an exercise in strength and balance.

Transitions in life have a way of increasing danger and throwing us off balance. In fact, being knocked off center, or worse, crashing and burning are sure signs that a transition is about to happen or is already in progress. Many times they are obvious, but occasionally a big wave will sneak up and remind us how fragile the balancing act we call our lives really is.

So you may get knocked down. What to you do? Pick up and press on, risking more, or you do turn back to the relative safety? Maybe you never take the airplane up. No risk in that. We can drown in the sea if we aren’t good swimmers, so maybe it’s better to stay out. If we try hard enough we can avoid many of these difficult transitions in life. Stay in the same place, keep the same job, hang around the same people, etc. You’ll still get bounced by the odd wave here and there, but it’s relatively safe.

But in a “that which does not kill us makes us stronger” sense those transitions are really valuable growth opportunities.



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