Ok, I’m done with copy-pasting my LinkedIn #100wordsaday here. I’m still doing that, over there but here, it’s time to get back to the more focussed purpose of this site – “insights into the pipeline industry in Australia”.
That might mean more #notmywords, maybe more guest posts, and probably more casual rambling musings from me.
In the meantime: REMINDER THAT AS2885.3 (OPERATIONS AND MAINTENANCE) – DRAFT IS OUT FOR PUBLIC COMMENT! (sorry, got a little shouty there).
The Public Comment phase for Part 3 officially closes at midnight Wednesday April 1.
If you’ve been sidetracked lately (!) and would like a little more time to put your comments in, get in touch with me or APGA, and we’ll see what we can do to help.
[ Sort ]
I have an ‘electronic pile’ of email newsletters dating back to last July, which I’m finally working through. The first thing I did was sort them into categories of similar topics: for example, three of my many areas of interest (besides risk/quality/competence) are productivity, writing skills, and entertainment (bring on the funny dog videos).
Our brains are amazing, but also lazy. Jumping from topic to topic, in hazes of clouded information, is not an effective way to absorb information. I set aside 20-45mins a day, and it’s more satisfying when the time is spent on one newsletter type or topic.
[ Groove/Rut ]
Being ‘in a groove’ is comfortable, easy, and unsurprising. It can also be useful, inspiring, and satisfying. When we’re in a groove, it feels right, and things seem to go our way. Problems get solved, and there is little conflict.
But at some point, it’s worth looking at that groove, and trying to decide if, in fact, it’s actually a rut. Maybe that groove – or rather, rut – means that you’re no longer learning, no longer challenged.
Perhaps it’s worth a shake up now and then, to shake us out of our rut, which we might have thought was a groove.
[ Shortcuts ]
The opposite of uncertainty is, of course, certainty. The nature of the human mind is such that we struggle with uncertainty. When faced with uncertainty, we strive to reach certainty of some sort. Certainty is found – imperfectly sometimes for sure –through applying heuristics, stereotypes or generalisations. These shortcuts are applied for new situations, new experiences, or to pigeonhole that new person we’ve just met.
In times of uncertainty, especially when it’s multiple aspects, these shortcuts can be detrimental. The new situation, experience, or person doesn’t fit into those pigeonholes. Be forgiving, patient and kind. Those are easy shortcuts to apply.
[ Predict ]
Some of the work I do involves facilitating a group of people to agree on some tangible outcomes.
In my role facilitating risk workshops for the safety of our built infrastructure, we spend time trying to predict the behaviour of others. It’s relying on the behaviour of others – following procedures, doing the right thing – that can make or break the effectiveness of some of our risk control methodologies.
Prediction of human behaviour, or in a similar sense, of how an unseen infection may behave, is fraught with difficulty. I don’t envy those currently trying to determine the right next steps.
[ Essential ]
Never before have we paid so much attention to what is actually essential. And also, in the opposite: identifying what is non-essential.
In the times before these, everything we had, and everything we were doing, seemed essential. It was essential to make time to go to the café. It was essential to have friends over on the weekend. It was essential to hug a relative when we met after a time apart.
Giving up those essentials opens our mind to think about what is left. But on the other hand, in a modern society, enjoying life is an essential too.
[ Fragile ]
I’m guilty of recently – like about 6 months ago – lamenting that the world needs ‘a reset’. I remarked that we as a society were getting too comfortable, too bored. We’ve had it too easy for at least a generation or two; many of us have never seen real hardship.
Well I guess we’re now having that reset.
But I’m oddly okay with it – because it tests fragility. This reset might, hopefully, clear out some shoddy practises, the nonjobs, and the focussed greed on always wanting to get more.
For humans and society to excel, we need to not be fragile.
[ It’s like a cyclone ]
Our ability to think and understand can get muddled when there’s an enormous amount of information coming in, especially when combined with uncertainty.
Analogies and metaphors are useful to quickly understand a complex issue. A good metaphor can clarify the intent or idea, by relating it to something recognisable or already known.
The Queensland Premier gave an excellent example of this for our current lockdown situation: We’re in a cyclone. Every day, for the foreseeable future. You wouldn’t go out in a cyclone, so, just imagine when you wake up every day, there’s a cyclone coming. And don’t go out.
(BTW – did I mention that on LinkedIn, I do this 100-words-a-day every day, except Saturday? So I didn’t miss yesterday … I typically try to not use the computer on Saturdays.)
[ Time ]
Obviously, life has changed. What hasn’t changed is time: there are still seven days in the week, and there are still 24hrs in a day.
Time continues to tick over, whether we are commuting into an office or not. Calendars mark time, though those calendars may look a little different these days.
Revere time for what it is: it is something we all have in the same amount, no matter who we are.
Perhaps this is a good time for a pause, time to rethink about the important things, and a chance to spend some time with that reading pile.
[ Information ]
When faced with a decision which is based on a piece of information that you don’t yet have, it seems that the human brain has a habit of shutting down; or being otherwise irrational.
What faced us last week was the question: when can we fly back? And the answer was: after the test results come in. When will that be? (Crickets.)
In the bigger picture, this situation is faced all the time in the arena of technical expertise. Managing – and supporting – the decision-making process in the face of lack of information, is the root of many stressful jobs.
Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash