Monday, December 19, 2016

A Truth Demonstrated by the Domino Analogy

I'd like to discuss one of my favorite analogies – the DOMINO analogy.  Actually, this is MORE than just an analogy.  Analogies are, after all, a COMPARISON between two things to help explain or clarify a thought.  But dominos are MORE than an analogy, or comparison.  They are the ACTUAL THING ITSELF.  Let me explain.

Obviously, if line up all the dominos in a row and then push on the one on the right, EVENTUALLY the one on the left will fall down.  This is “cause and effect” in its most elementary and visible form – and it demonstrates a very important truth.

The interaction between the finger and the domino happened FIRST.  And then the interaction between the rightmost domino and the one next to it happened second, and so on, and so on, until the last domino (on the left) EVENTUALLY falls down.  

Nothing extraordinary here, right?  Well hang in there and I’ll make my point.

In the “Root Cause Analysis” world, we always start with the LAST domino – the one on the left.  It’s the event we’re investigating.  Initially, we cannot SEE the dominos on the right, but we know they are there.  Investigations uncover them, one at a time, discovering the important cause and effect relationships.

But here’s the point I’d like to make.

As the cloak is pulled back, and we reveal more and more dominos, we’re actually GOING BACK IN TIME.  Remember, the domino on the RIGHT has to fall BEFORE the dominos on the LEFT fall down.  The cause of the cause of the cause of the cause relationships reveal that NOTHING HAPPENS in our lives without causes that originated in the past.  This is ALWAYS TRUE.

Let’s say I did something that caused a major problem, and you want to know why I behaved in that manner.  Do you think you’d be able to trace some of the causes of my behavior back to my parents?  Probably.  So let’s go to my parents.  Why did they raise me the way they raised me?  Do you think you’d be able to trace some of the causes of THEIR behavior back to THEIR parents?  SURE!

The dominos are interesting because they suggest that that we (as humans) might not be responsible for ANYTHING that has happened in the PRESENT. 

Everything that happens today was really caused by people that came before us.

Now, of course, there’s a LOT MORE TO THINGS THAT GO WRONG than that.  We ARE a lot more responsible than it seems.  And I’ll certainly be talking about them in future blogs.
For now, please realize that...

..whatever you do today, and how ever you are at present is affecting the future in ways you cannot even remotely conceive.

Isn’t all this fascinating?

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Thoughts About September 11, 2001

September 11, 2001 was obviously a day that most of the world will never forget.

I grew up in New Jersey and spent a lot of time in NYC.  My father worked there.  My brother still works there.  I’ve eaten with my family on top of the world trade center in the Windows of the World restaurant.

On September 11, 2001, however, I had already moved into our mountain house in Virginia.  When I heard what was happening in my beloved city, I was glued to the TV like almost everything else.

My initial horror turned into relief as I heard that the NYC fire department was at the scene.  I thought everything would be okay – after all, they’re the best in the world at what they do.
Then the unthinkable happened.  The first tower collapsed.  And then the second.

How can any human being witness what unfolded that day without something profound occurring within them?  

At least, that was my initial emotional response.

But then an email made me realize the status of our society.  I received the noted email 30 minutes after the 2nd tower collapsed, and it  shook me to my core.  I’ll read what it said:

“Do not let terrorism, which is designed to create fear and stop production, halt your life or work.  Stay focused and do not stop what you’re doing.  May God help us all and the decisions we must make.”

I remember thinking “I’m supposed to stay focused?  On What?  I’m not supposed to "stop production?"  I’m simply supposed to keep working and not let this bother me?  I’m not supposed to grieve, wonder, pray – I’m supposed to simply keep doing I’m doing?  What kinds of calloused people have we become? 

What level of event will it take to get us to stop and listen and learn?  

Please try to relate this to where you work, where you live, and even your families.  And please try to consider this:

Failure is the only phenomena of life capable of getting our attention when we’re too busy doing something else.  Nothing else is able to tear us away from the grasp of our own objectives, desires, and goals to force us to look at what we’d rather not look at.

Do you know what “failure” is?  Do you treat it as an ugly, nasty inconvenience?  If so, I’m afraid you are on the road to 911 experiences in your lives.  Because if we don’t learn from the smaller failures of life, those smaller failures are going to turn into larger ones.  Larger and larger and larger until we eventually listen.  Eventually, we’ll all learn what we need to learn.  The only choice we have, it seems, is when.

Let’s learn from the small problems in our lives so we don’t have to experience the catastrophic ones.

Failure is not what we think it is.