President’s Message

There is Always Something:
A few years ago (well, perhaps more than just a few) there was a delightful movie entitled “Joe Versus the Volcano”. As the title suggests, this was an uneven contest.
That volcano never had a chance!
However, the hero of the story was always looking for what could go wrong next. As the tale progressed, he moves from a dead end job, and the threat of dying young to an exciting adventure, falling in love and being miraculously saved from death. After being saved, his reaction is to comment on what a desperate situation the new couple finds themselves facing. The heroine comments: “It’s always going to be something with you, isn’t it?”
A more recent movie, “A Series of Unfortunate Events” looks at the other side. No matter what kind of problem, or what kind of danger the children are in, the young heroine is heard to say “There is always something”. However, in this case, she is referring to all of the possible ways to overcome the problem and come out on top.
One of the two people above looks for what can go wrong, and expects to find it. The other looks for opportunities to succeed, in fact actively seeks them, and finds them. This is a little like the “the glass is half full, the glass is half empty” or Yin and Yang point of view, but with a twist. Simply recognizing that life is inherently a balanced structure (light and dark, good and bad, left and right, man and woman, etc.) is only part of the message. The essential human talent that allows us to focus on one side or the other of the equation to the exclusion of the other is our way of influencing the odds. There is a reason why the phrase “Be careful what you wish for!” resonates with so many of us.
Find and Seek:
From the oldest book, we find “Seek, ye shall find”. This is one way of saying that your attitude toward events and conditions will directly influence your experience of those events and conditions. “Stay open to the possibilities” is a different way of saying the same thing. Another way to look at this is that your attitude can actually change the probabilities inherent in the situation to either your favor, or your detriment. Sound like magic? Stay tuned!
Let’s look at the other alternative. Suppose you decide not to “seek”? How many opportunities are you likely to miss, if you are not looking for them? Your probability of finding…anything…just fell dramatically. With the attitude of “There is always something…good”, what do you suppose the probability bias to your life would be? What would that probability bias be if you were always seeking everything that could go wrong? If you find what you seek, isn’t the end result obvious?

Holding On:
To some, the past is the most important part of their lives. They just can’t “let go” and move on. The inventor who laments of someone else “They stole my idea” missed an essential point. “They” may have stolen his idea, but they didn’t steal him. This is like lamenting the loss of a golden egg, while holding the goose that lays those eggs. If your eye is fixed on the egg, you won’t notice the value inherent in the goose.
The classic case here is Eli Whitney who spent years trying, albeit unsuccessfully, to defend his invention of the cotton gin. When he finally ‘let go’ and moved on, he added several new patents to his name, and wound up inventing interchangeable parts, the radical new concept that revolutionized the arms industry of the time. What would have happened if he had not been able to forget about the past and move on? If your eye is only on the golden egg, you don’t notice the value of the goose. As Jimmy Durante used to say: “I got a million of ‘em, a million of ‘em!” When you are the source, who can steal anything truly important from you?

Our most recent Symposium will now be in the past as you read this, but for me writing this letter, it is in the near future. I am preparing to go to Chicago expecting another wonderful EMC Society experience. Because of my attitude, I truly believe that my probability of having a great time in the “Windy City” will be at its maximum.
Despite my attitude, there will inevitably also be ‘challenges’ to meet, which will actually disguise opportunities waiting to be discovered. How many I find will be a test of my ability to focus on the “something” that can convert this opportunity from a potential problem into a new positive reality. But that’s life, it moves from one opportunity to another. Once you recognize that fact, your major problem will be trying to take advantage of as many as you have time to address.

Portland & Hawaii:
Not wanting to hold onto the past, I am already looking forward to having another wonderful time meeting friends and associates in Portland next year. And, if you are like most of our members I talk with, you are already planning your family vacation for 2007 in conjunction with our Symposium on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. It seems that holding onto the past is not something our members have problems with! EMC

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