Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Empty Your Mind

This article is in response to this article on "The Roost".

A good example of this is the technician that was working on our phone system yesterday. He was attempting to troubleshoot why he could not get one of the phone jacks to work. The method he was using was merely testing if another jack was working in a variety of different ways. In his mind he was switching between the two jacks, but he was merely switching the same jack between to plugs in the phone switch.

The way I am explaining this might be losing something in the translation, but eventually another technician came along and had to explain to the first that he was not looking at the logic in his troubleshooting right. The first technician could not clear his mind enough to understand that he wasn't testing the correct jack.

When we get something set in our minds one way, it is very difficult at times to step back and rethink the situation. Religious discussions are notorious for this type of thought process. People of varying religious beliefs are so ingrained in their life-long belief systems that they find it next to impossible to accept any other line of reasoning.

Some folks swear by Fords, and some by Chevy's, still others are die hard Honda followers, and then there is the type that have Diesel's on the brain. Of course the Dodge fanatics are way out there. ;)

This mental problem is why those people who can think “outside the box” are a valuable asset to a company. A business does not need folks who are mired in their own idioms, but people who can make the mental leaps necessary to cover a larger encompassing scope.

I pride myself on having an open mind and make a real effort to listen to all points of a discussion. Like most people, I too occasionally fall victim to my own thoughts and seemingly have my own cup “spilling over”. Some people who know me ask where I find the time to read all the things that I read, or listen to talk radio, or watch the Science and Discovery channels. The fact is, this is what I enjoy, and so in my spare time it is what I do.

In the car I listen to talk radio so I can stay current on events of the world, and more importantly so I can listen to several sides of a variety of discussions. When at home, and the family has gone to bed, I work on my websites or read about whatever happens to be of interest to me at that moment. If I am in a television mood, I may do the brain-dead thing and watch a sitcom, or spend a Sunday watching things like the Science or Discovery channels.

Since I tend to stay informed on many topics, I am also very aware that many people don't read or write much these days. The older they get, many adults tend to lose their ability to read well, write well or even engage in meaningful conversations. For some reason I can't function that way. This is perhaps one reason I am working as a network administrator/engineer. In my career the industry is always changing. We literally learn new ways to do our jobs daily and have to adapt our thought processes accordingly.

Take a class on something that interests you. Read a book, any book fiction or non, but exercise your mind and work on your reading skills. When watching television, seek out the more informative channels, watch the news, or even something like an interior decorating or cooking show. The key is to watch something informative, not mentally draining. Write poetry, short stories, emails to your friends. Nobody to write to? Participate in forums on whatever website you find interesting. At the very least take up a hobby.

In addition to everything else I have mentioned, I also enjoy the LGB train that goes around our Christmas tree every year and I read magazines about Garden Railways even though I currently do not have the time or money to create one of my own. I am a scuba diver for the local water rescue team. Currently I am maintaining about 8 websites (I lose count) and helping others create web pages and sites of their own. My fish tank is something else that I enjoy, and the current crop of fish can't wait until I stop by every day to toss them their munchies. This past year has brought two dogs into our home, and I love to feed the Quail, finches and hummingbirds in the backyard.

Can I continue with my interests and what I do in my life? You bet. Sometimes it's exhausting just listing my activities, and that's not even going into what needs to be done for my three daughters with school, Girl Scouts, Volleyball, Basketball, Flute and violin lessons, etc...

It's no wonder I am getting more gray by the day.

So keep your cup at least empty enough to allow new things to pour in. Embrace life and live it by always searching for new experiences. This is why I love my “Life In A Handbasket Website”, because I get to write about a great many things and invite the world in for discussions. Unfortunately the world does not know the site exists, but that has not stopped me from writing my articles for the past several years.

The final thing is not only must you maintain enough room in your personal cup to learn new things, but you must also pursue your interests even if the odds are against you. Not many people read my articles, but I don't care. They are written as a way for me to express myself and get out in words all of the strange and random thoughts I am mulling over as I live my life.

It was Albert Einstein that said,

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Do something different, right now, today!


  1. I really enjoyed your blog today. I continue to think differently about things. Not that I will change my thinking, but to understand that there are different perceptions of reality.

    Yeah, and I like talk radio because this reminds me of this.

  2. Thanks Leesa,

    A friend and I were discussing a word math problem that I received a few months back. It's one of those problems where you give someone “x” amount of money, something occurs, they give you so much change back, you divide it up and end up with somehow missing some money. (If I could have found the email I would have posted it here. Might still look some more for it).

    Anyway, it's basically a word problem that redirects your thinking so that no matter how hard you try it seems like the problem doesn't work out right. Turns out the problem is all about your perception and you need to step back a bit so you can finally see what the real problem should be.

    It's strange to think that if a little word problem can do this to you, something much larger in the “Big Picture” of life might be next to impossible to figure out.

    People who can think outside the box have brought us to the moon and back and a huge list of great accomplishments. I don't believe anything is truly impossible, just that we have not figured out how to do it yet.

    "A mind is like a parachute, it doesn't work if it isn't open." --Frank Zappa

  3. Tsykoduk tracked down that moath problem I was talking about. So here it is...

    Three friends were splitting a hotel room. The room cost $30, $10 each. As they were going to their room, the clerk said "wait, there's a special, and the room is only $25."

    The friends were appriciateve and told the clerk to keep 2 dollars as a tip. The clerk then gave back $1 each, so they each paid $9 and the clerk kept $2, which totals $29.

    So what happened to the other dollar?