24 October, 2012

Trying to remain calm in the face of life's challenges

Last night was Gentle Yoga with Elizabeth.

If I'd written about the class last night, it would have been a very different entry. But the day's events have led me to be trying to use my yoga in life, rather than recalling the yoga itself as clearly as I would otherwise.

Earlier this week, I had a semi-scare about a major crisis at work. I guess I handled it okay? Now, two days later, I was faced with another mistake at work. This time, a rather major one, in terms of the integrity of the actual work that I do. I made an error that impacts the quality of the data that I collect in my research. There were other implications of the mistake, but I'll spare you the details. It was rather big, and broad in scope. And there's no way of undoing the mistake, other than to try to decipher the truth from within the data that I do have. 

I'm disappointed in the error. 

It was the result of overlooking a detail in my process, and I actually (it turns out) have repeated the error in several consecutive studies that I've conducted, never catching it, because of the fact that this portion of my process was essentially "auto-pilot." I may never have caught the mistake, for some time longer, had I not stumbled upon it dealing with a weird detail in the data I collected. 

To err is human, I guess? 

I was working on a complex project. I had actually elected to make it even more complex than it needed to be, in an effort to be fancy and clever in my implementation. And I spent copious amounts of time and effort troubleshooting and testing the part that was complex. Turns out, my error had to do with an extremely simple, trivial part, that was as obvious as counting from A to Z (in fact, it was just that; namely, I thought a list was in sequential order, and it actually wasn't, and I pasted info from one list to another, assuming the lists aligned). 

So what does it say? I pay attention to detail, but I might be blind to the elephant in the room? I spend time instrumenting complexity in my world, when simple, yet tedious, sometimes suffices? Ironically, just this morning, I was marveling at how I had not made any big mistakes in my entire time on the job. And, just like that, the slap-down. 

I didn't get too upset about it today. It's a mess. It's ugly. It's a little embarrassing. But somehow, I will just move forward, and get what I can out of the data. And I'll learn from the mistake. The thing that scares me a little bit is that I am not entirely sure what all the lessons are that I should learn. I know not to make that error again. But how do I not make those types of errors again? That's the main concern. And I guess, what I learned is that there are types of risks that are unavoidable, such as typos or oversights. But then there are the choices we make that determine the severity of the unavoidable mistakes. The choices I made about how to structure my work failed to consider "worst-case scenario." That's actually rather funny, since I am typically someone who is utterly driven by worse-case-scenario thinking, or at least I had been. Maybe I have finally swung so far into the realm of overcompensating, that I now would do well to remember my roots?

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All that said, there was, indeed, yoga yesterday. 

Elizabeth took us through the Standard Series of Ashtanga (or at least, a part of it). The poses take on a deeper level in her class, where we have an opportunity to spend a very long time in certain stretches, exploring form and function of our own bodies. The mechanics start to make more sense. We started class with a fairly lengthy meditation, where Elizabeth talked about how it is tough to quiet the mind at the end of the day, enough so that it becomes passive, which is a necessary state of mind for doing the yoga. 

It was a deep practice, and I enjoyed it a lot, even though I knew I would once again be feeling it in my muscles today. And I am.

Tonight, I will have the opportunity to try to let it all go, this day. I know that life has lessons to teach us. And I know that everything is going to be okay, no matter what. But there are times where I just wish it could be an unending string of successes.

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