About Knowing…

I went to quite a few “summer camps” during my corporate career. These were multi-day seminars most often in the summer to teach me one thing or another about how to do my job better.  They were rah rah sessions to keep me excited about what I was doing. Some of them were worthwhile, some were just boring. But since the company paid all the expenses and they were a welcome change from the day-to-day office.

One of the summer camps I remember most vividly was about discovery. The cubes below stick with me almost thirty years later:

Knowing

  1. Obviously you know what you know. These are things that stick with you for periods of time. For instance you know your birth date and some of us even know our wedding anniversary. These are things that we know and we know that we know.  Some are essential to our lives.
  2. Then there are things that you know that you don’t know. For instance I know that I don’t know much of anything about nuclear physics or biology.  These types of things I trust other to know so I don’t need to.
  3. The third category is the one that most often gets us in trouble.  Some these things we think we know but we really don’t. These include many of the reasons for our various prejudices.  We think all people of color are to be avoided.  Our knowledge in this cube is faulty due to our limited exposure to the topic or maybe an ingrained belief drilled into us by others.
  4. The fourth cube is where discovery, creativity and insight come from. We just don’t know what we don’t know. For some that is as far as it goes.  But for others it is a realization that we have much to learn.  The way to turn this cube into a positive is to be open to possibilities that we have never been exposed to.  It means actively thinking outside the box.  I pride myself in keeping box number 4 front and center in my daily life. I am open to possibilities I never knew existed.

Unfortunately there are some that absolutely refuse to even consider cube four exists. They are stuck in their current circumstances and refuse to acknowledge any other possibilities. Most often their lives are dark and often negative. They are anti almost everything unknown to them.

Question everything and always think outside your box.

I am that wise guy

TWiG 1

 

Boxes…

Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, KY – Boxes

I know that boxes are not an American invention but we can certainly learn a lot about our history and where we come from by studying them and that is just what I do. We visit many historic sites around the U.S. and I am constantly on the lookout for boxes, Hoosier Cabinets, and group pictures.  A century ago the Shakers were very much known for their garden seeds. They simply had the highest quality seeds around.

Boredom, My Personal Journey …. Part 2

Banner - About Life

This is a continuation of my previous post about boredom and apathy. In high school not much changed as far as a lack of a challenge. One of the things I did enjoy there was writing essays. That activity gave me free rein to say what I wanted and I always easily got A’s for my work.  Unfortunately I was never guided toward an avocation that would have exercised that talent I definitely showed even in my early days.

After high school college came. That is where I came upon the first real challenges in thinking.  Again I excelled in English Comp classes without much effort and the electrical engineering classes I took were challenging but not particularly enjoyable to me. That should have given me a clue that I was in the wrong major but being a naive farm kid that I was that just didn’t occur to me that I had options.

Rube Goldberg

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Boredom, My Personal Journey — Part 1

Here are some words from a fellow blogger’s page that I kind of borrowed.  Thanks Syd for the idea:

York University professor John Eastwood explains that boredom is just “wanting to, but being unable to engage in satisfying activity.”  He goes on to distinguish boredom from apathy.  “The [bored] person is not engaged but wants to be.  With apathy, he said, there is no urge to do something.”

The above quote really got me to thinking about my life so I am going to spend the next couple of posts on the topic of boredom. Boredom and apathy, where to begin?  I am going to give you one of my conclusions about this before I even start the discussion. I am doing that so you might be able to understand where I am coming from.  Here goes:

While it is easy to say boredom is “wanting to, but being unable to engage in satisfying activity” we must understand that there are other reasons for being bored.  It is sometimes too convenient to put boxes around people where they simply don’t fit and I refuse to be put into an ill-fitting box, or just about any box for that matter. 🙂 

I will readily admit that I get bored easily.  I have been plagued, or blessed depending on how you look at it, with boredom my entire life.  That is one reason why this blog is so widely focused. I would simply get too bored with constantly covering the same small niche as so many of my blogger friends seem to do so well.

BoredWhen I was a kid I got bored easily. When something got my attention it usually got my “total” attention.  Things have not changed much with me in that regard. That is I often focus exclusively on the goal at hand. My wife would certainly attest to that fact.

In grade school once I learned how to do something for instance long division I was ready to move on to the next thing. But the problem was that the teacher often insisted that we go over long division again and again and again as some of the other kids just couldn’t get it… I often shut down when that happened.

I’m sure that if I were a kid today I would be on Ritalin and would be diagnosed as ADD. I was just not interested in doing long division practices after I had learned how to do it.  I often got into trouble in that regard. In early high school I read a biography of Albert Einstein and discovered that he had a similar time in school. He was diagnosed as being apathetic.  I am not comparing myself with Einstein but I did find out later in life that I have a pretty high IQ so maybe that was at least partially the cause of my lack of attention.

This sort of problem plagued me through my high school years. Things just came too easy for me and I got bored and drifted off into another world and therefore was identified as “not paying attention”.

Next time I will talk about how my boredom affected me in my corporate life and beyond.  I think even at this point you get the idea that it was not that I was “unable to engage in satisfying activity”, I would have certainly engaged in a satisfying activity if it had been presented to me.