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Saturday, October 1, 2016

Dealing with Setbacks, Critical Mass Data and Fatal Flaws

Good Saturday morning to you my Faithful and Unfaithful Followers and Readers!

I am in a remote location in Texas living alone, working alone and being alone, which gives me time to think and reflect on Nature and the Life of Nature and the Nature of Humans.

But with the Miracle of Modern Technology, I am still plugged or wirelessly wired into the World.... ain't that grand?

Maybe not so much so.

Sometimes I think I would be better off just moving all my Worldly Possessions (which amounts to about a 6 x 6 x 6 cube) into Storage and just taking off with a backpack and 3 days food and water and just letting the chips fall where they may.

Anyway, let's get to the Subject Matter related to this Blog Post title, one of which is the concept of Setbacks.

And like most things in this blog and in life in general, there's an underlying Double Meaning to this subject.

Despite our best efforts to make progress in this ole Life, to better ourselves, to continue to improve on how we deal with Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, there will be Setbacks.

You think you've licked a certain problem or you're sitting pretty on amassing a decent savings or bank account or developing a relationship with some special someone and then you experience an event, a happening, a pothole in the Road of Life that leaves you....

In a Hole looking up at where you had been just before.

Let me relate a little anecdote to you that illustrates this inevitable happening of  life pretty well and brings in the 2nd meaning of a setback.

Was talking with a relatively new friend of mine from Santa Fe about a project she is looking at involving constructing an improvement on a property she owns.  Doesn't matter what it is.... just assume it is a structure of some kind.

Naturally, me being an Engineer, a Project Manager, an Owner of Rental Property for 30 years and a guy whose dealt with conceiving, conceptualizing, engineering, designing and building hundreds of structures, I felt relatively qualified to provide some meaningful and pertinent input to a request by my friend to review conceptual designs submitted by an architect she had approached for that purpose.

Now let me shoehorn another critical Life Concept in here which was really a critical fulcrum in the See Saw discussion that transpired between my friend and me.

It became apparent that there was a Critical Piece of Data that the entire concept and design of this Improvement Project was based upon.  You had to have this Critical Piece of Data and understand it and apply it to this particular problem or you were gonna be lost or completely ineffective and even counterproductive in evaluating or discussing the overall project design.

In my life of thousands of happenings / events, 2 failed marriages, limited success and failure at parenthood, sitting through hundreds of industry safety investigations and participating in major project efforts, it has become apparent to me that there is almost always invariably one, or at most, a few pieces of critical info that if not known or known but ignored at the very beginning of the effort, that will result in a failure or, at best, diminished effort or result in the event, project or relationship.

You can label this Nugget of Information / Understanding whatever you want.

I call it Critical Mass Data.

crit·i·cal mass
  1. 1.
    the minimum amount of fissile material needed to maintain a nuclear chain reaction.
  2. 2.
    the minimum size or amount of something required to start or maintain a venture.
    "a communication system is of no value unless there is a critical mass of users"

Note that 2nd definition.... that's what I'm referring to.

Now back to my friend's project and the double meaning of "setback".

One of the Critical Mass Data points for this little property improvement project was the dimension for "setback".

So again, let's see what we're dealing with here.....

  1. 1.
    a reversal or check in progress.
    "a serious setback for the peace process"
  2. 2.
    a plain, flat offset in a wall.

And once again, please note that 2nd definition and let me expand it a little.

In the architectural world and in this case, "setback" is the distance that any structure has to be "set back" or placed from the property line to meet local building codes.  It can be different from city to city.

In this case, my friend was not exactly sure of the Santa Fe NM "Setback" called for but thought her architect had specified that the local building ordinances required any structure to be located at least 7' from the front property line.

Because of the limited space available for the structure, it became painfully obvious that no one - not me or my friend - could talk intelligently about anything that the architect had presented in terms of size and design options for the structure without knowing 2 things:

1.  Where the front property line was.
2.  The exact dimension for setback from that front property line.

Again, any discussion regarding reviewing an existing design, suggesting alternatives or evaluating the location, shape, size, accessibility - you name it - talking about the project had to be predicated by absolutely knowing and understanding those 2 pieces of data.

So being the problem solver I am and being WITHOUT (which I just realized contains the words "Wit Out" which is particularly applicable to this case) those 2 pieces of data, I started reeling off design suggestions and changes from the proposed "expert" architect's design.... because I didn't know or understand the Critical Mass Data that the architect's design was based on.

See my opinion on dealing with "experts" in the previous post:

And every suggestion, talking point and suggested design change was shot down or at least dismissed by my friend.

Which is a good segue to the last concept for this little blog post on human tendencies and deficiencies.

And that is the concept of Fatal Flaws.

So what is a Fatal Flaw?

First off, let me say that any Foible, Fallibility or Failure of any human being is likely not a Fatal Flaw unless it is "activated" or exposed by some situation, event or interaction with another person.

And a Fatal Flow may not be an issue or a problem in an interaction with one person whereas it may be a "Showstopper" with another person.

So I guess a "Fatal Flaw" could be defined as a characteristic, tendency or personality trait that represents a roadblock or inability to progress or be effective in any sort of endeavor - whether it be financial, physical, mental or relational.

And a "Fatal Flaw" for one person may only become one when it comes in contact with a "Fatal Flaw" of another person..... in other words, the specific combination of the 2 opposing Fatal Flaws together at any point in time is like Dynamite in that shit blows up when these 2 component Fatal Flaws come together.

So let's tie all these pieces together shall we?

One of my Fatal Flaws is getting Frustrated with an inability to communicate or at least get my thoughts or ideas acknowledged and / or respected by the person I'm talking with.

One of my friend's fatal flaws is that she is Stubborn.... once she gets something in her mind, I'm convinced she literally has a mental and intellectual inability to process or consider any new information regarding that subject matter.  It's like talking to a brick wall.... You bounce something off it and it comes back at you with like Velocity and equal Dismissal.

I've often said that if you want to really Piss Me Off, just ignore what I'm saying or make it apparent that you don't value my opinion or the effort, experience and knowledge that opinion is formed from.

Perhaps even worse than ignoring my opinion, just keep discounting my efforts to communicate ideas or suggestions for improvement, because you didn't give me all the info that you are privy to.

That's a fucking setup for a really bad situation.

Cause it is a great Precedent for my Ultimate Fatal Flaw as alluded to above.....

Anger! Getting Pissed Off!

Because there's right and wrong ways to get mad..... and I always pick the wrong way.

Which is to say or do something that is really mean or destructive to the other person, our relationship and me.

And getting Mad and saying / doing mean things to someone you care about is a great way to setup a.....


Have enough Setbacks and you end up with....

A Failed Relationship.....

Or a Divorce.....

Been there and Done That....

So Learn from My Life Experiences of Setbacks, Critical Mass Data and Fatal Flaws.

Because Success in Life is sometimes Less about What you Do Right -

And More about What You Don't Do Wrong.

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