A short musing for the holidays (just because I feel lazy), in fact only one...
Why is the flight attendant call button on the ceiling of the plane?
Flew JetStar few days ago and while reaching up to the ceiling to close the reading light realised that the call button to get the attention of a flight attendant was also there on the ceiling. My understanding is that one of the usages for this call button is when there is possibly some emergency/important matter you need to tell the flight attendant. So is it just me who thinks it is rather silly that this button is up on the ceiling making it rather hard to reach? (It would be quite bad if there was severe turbulence and a kid stands up to try and push this button to get some help...)
Ok, maybe that was a bit too short - but here are two quotes that I've came across in the recent few weeks that I thought are worth sharing:
"If you're not prepared to be wrong, you'll never come up with anything original."
- Sir Ken Robinson
"Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand."
- Albert Einstein
It's been a crazy few days and I know Musing #50 is long overdue - sorry! However, now that I am not doing a musing/thought a day I can foresee myself not religiously updating on Sundays any more, rather I will aim to put up a musing roughly once a week. So, without any more random ramblings, here are some random musings…
Don't forget your weaknesses, but pay more attention to your strengths.
This advice came from a work colleague few days ago. As summarised above, although you should not completely ignore your weaknesses your time is probably better spent concentrating and making your strengths stand out even more. My understanding of the reasoning behind this is if you spend a whole tonne of precious time and effort in building up your weaknesses, it will make you better overall, but you won't stand out. Since you have spent the time working on your weakness (and 'neglecting' your strengths) you will be able to do a good job at most tasks but it'll be harder to do a spectacular job at something.
On the other hand, if you concentrate on your strengths and make them even better you'll be an "expert" at particular tasks and you will be able to stand out in that area. So when someone needs someone to do a job in that area, you will come to mind as the person most suitable to get the job done well.
Of course you can't just not work on your weaknesses at all, for example, there are many 'weaknesses' that you can't just ignore completely - eg communication. If communication is not one of your strengths, I believe you should work on it so you can communicate comfortably and effectively; but there is no need to stress too much that you can't deliver speeches as well as the guy on the stage - after all, public speaking may as well be one of his strengths that he is working hard on improving.
This week's musings will take a different format! Partly because the previous format took too long and partly because it sometimes felt like I was stretching myself to find a musing for each day. Or maybe I'm just lazy So here are some musings from the 49th week of the year.
Something as simple as "fun" can change people's behaviour for the better.
When I saw "Piano Stairs" on YouTube it made me smile It was great to see that by adding some 'fun' to something ordinary like stairs can change people's behaviour. It was quite interesting to see the range of people that chose to take the stairs over the escalator because the stairs had been converted into a piano - seems like everyone likes a bit of change and fun! If you're wondering who would spend so much effort transforming ordinary stairs into piano stairs, go and take a look at the people behind it - The Fun Theory.
Get feedback on your work - even if it is crap!
As some may be aware, I can be quite obsessed in making sure things are perfect. There is something in me that wants to go over every single detail to make sure nothing is out of place. This is all well and good for small projects/tasks (though I probably still spend too much time perfecting things that most people will not even notice) but when it comes to slightly larger projects this obsessiveness is a curse. So when I read "Version 1 Sucks, But Ship It Anyway" on Coding Horror, although not exactly related to obsessiveness, it still jumped out at me.
One of the reasons for my obsessiveness (I prefer to see it as attention to detail) is most likely because I want to know that I have thought of everything and checked everything. But realistically this is impossible. There is bound to be something I've forgotten, didn't think of or didn't know existed at all. Which brings me back to the article - no matter how much you try to polish something there is bound to be something you left out simply because you didn't know about it.
So it is important to get feedback as soon as possible - obviously you shouldn't ask for feedback on something that is totally hopelessly crap but neither should you wait until it has been fully polished and super shiny. In my opinion, the key is being able to identify when you have something good enough, stop being obsessed and get some feedback.
Here's a nice little poem by Donald Rumsfield about knowns and unknowns
As we know,
There are known knowns.
There are things we know we know.
We also know
There are known unknowns.
That is to say
We know there are some things
We do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns,
The ones we don’t know
We don’t know.