We are different, and that’s good

Threshold from TargetTarget has a new line of housewares: Threshold. Some of the stuff is awesome and some is junk.

I found it interesting that on one store shelf, there were two items that gave me complete opposite reactions. One item I loved and the other I hated. That reminded me that many people love the thing I hated and many people hate the thing I loved. I delight in how different we are!

Footnote: If you check back on Friday, I’ll reveal in the comments which of these two things I loved and which thing I hated.


The Mount Everest Syndrome

The top of Mt EverestAre you climbing Mt. Everest? If you are, you will need the finest equipment available. If you are climbing a small hill near your home, you may not need that quality of equipment.

This basic principle should guide how you spend your money. We all love perfection. Many of us like to have the finest stuff we can afford. But ask yourself, do I really need that good a thing? Do I need my whatever to last 500 years when I’ll only live to 70 or 80?

Save your money. Understand that if you have kids, they may not want to inherit that thing after you die. It probably will be obsolete then, even if it will last another 430 years. And if it’s not obsolete, it will probably be hopelessly out of style, at least for three or four fashion cycles.


1. Some people have this syndrome more than others. It’s partially a function of personality type. I have the personality type that is prone to this. If you know someone who has this tendency, help them fight it. One symptom might be watching them buy a 4WD vehicle that can scale Mt. Everest, when they live in a flat part of Kansas.

2. I wrote about this before, in other terms: What once held value on this blog and What once held value on my old blog.

3. There are other references to this syndrome, though the Wikipedia definition reflects a slightly different beast. I’d also guess that it’s a symptom of OCD.


Remember, they are human too

call center operatorsWhen was the last time you got frustrated with a call center operator? It’s easy to do. First, it probably took you ten minutes to reach an actual human. The person at the other end of the line may have an accent that is hard to understand. They may not be trained to know the exact answer to the question you asked. They may not have the authority to refund your purchase price.

So give them a break. Remember:

1. They probably have little influence over the setup of their company’s phone maze.

2. They may be having a bad day too.

3. They breathe air and eat food just like you do.

4. They might actually enjoy sharing a cup of tea with you, given the opportunity.


The great thing about being a kid

Skier kid asleep on a staircaseThe great thing about being a kid is that many times you just don’t care what other people think.

We went skiing a few weeks ago, and this kid fell asleep on a very busy staircase in the main ski lodge. He didn’t care about what other people thought. He was so exhausted that he had to collapse right then and there.

I was jealous of his strong filters. What a cool thing to be able to sleep there!

I was not jealous of the kid’s parents. Their filters were a bit underdeveloped. I feared a skier who had one too many beers at the bar would stomp on the kid’s head on their way down the staircase. At least the kid had a helmet on. (But in all fairness to his unseen parents, maybe they were so tired they collapsed on a different staircase.)


Lessons from a homeless person

Duct tape car window repairHomeless people can be very resourceful.

Spending $250 to replace a broken side window in a 20-year old car is not an option if you are living in that car. Duct tape makes a strong and waterproof seal, if only temporary. The total expenditure was about 50c. Maybe sun will destroy the tape in six months, but then the owner will just need to re-tape the window. They’ll have the opportunity to use a new and different patterned tape!

The lesson I learned is to be resourceful. When you don’t have an option, creating a solution that’s “not perfect” is often perfect.


Getting published

A letter to the editorMy uncle snail-mailed me this letter to the editor he recently wrote. He was thrilled to see his name in print. I have wondered what makes some of us enjoy that recognition. Here are a few ideas why:

  • We like the idea that someone else thought our concepts were good enough to be seen by their audience.
  • We like the idea that our ideas are being seen by a larger number of people than if we were just talking with a friend.
  • There’s the possibility that someone will take our idea and make a difference – or give us a related idea that will make a difference.

By the way, I appreciate his point in the letter. I am very frustrated when I see the numbers spinning past so fast. ($10,000 is added to the US national deficit every second.)


Important to someone

Center of the Population for the State of ColoradoYou can visit the Center of the Population for the State of Colorado. For the year 2000.

We saw the memorial for that recently during a family hike. There’s a plaque and a big “X” that marks the spot, next to the parking area of a state park outside Denver.

Knowing that we were visiting the population center was not an awe-inspiring moment for any of us. Knowing that the population center may have moved since the year 2000 was also not an awe-inspiring revelation. But showing park visitors the 2000 population center for years to come was important to someone. And they convinced some another group of people that it was important enough to spend money on. Maybe even public money.

My point in sharing this with you is that we need to accept things that are important to others, even if they are not important to us. And even if they represent money, time and energy that we would have invested elsewhere.