Category Archives: General Info

Weakness in Strength

ellipsisI like to simplify complex ideas and motives into concise, overarching theories. I love classifying people and their intentions and boiling it all down to the lowest common factor. I have found that this process helps me to quickly analyze situations and make judgments based on some criteria rather than a gut feeling.

The problem is that this simplification leads to over-simplification…and classifying leads to prejudging…and boiling down ideas leaves nothing of value…and this, ultimately, leads to an overuse of ellipsis and a complete butchering of the written form of the English language.

But just for kicks, here’s one of my all-encompassing theories of the universe:

A person’s greatest strength is usually his greatest weakness as well.

Let’s use me as an example.

My strength: I am a big-picture person. I generally focus on the main objectives and, therefore, don’t sweat the small stuff. I don’t get bogged down in details and can usually come up with broad solutions and compromises for problems. I can typically see beyond the immediate problem and the immediate symptoms to the bigger issues.

My weakness: I am a big-picture person. I generally focus on the main objectives and, therefore, don’t care about the small stuff. I often ignore details and usually fail to consider small problems or the value of individuals. I typically overlook the immediate problem and the people involved while focusing on bigger issues.

I believe the greatest strength anyone can have is recognizing his own weaknesses, so I’m going to start looking for ways my strengths make me weaker. Oh no! That’s another really broad theory that needs some detail.

I’d love to see if this theory works. What are the inherent weaknesses that ride along with your strengths?

Blind Sided

My wife and I bought a house and most of the challenges we’ve handled fairly well. Forking over the vast majority of our money? No problem. Hiring a contractor to replace the roof, AC, windows, and kitchen? No problem. Finding friends to help us move all of our earthly possessions from our apartment to our house? No problem. Finding a place for all of our junk? No problem. Hanging mini blinds in all of the windows? Problem. Big, huge, annoying problem.

 

 

No one has ever described me as “handy.” Probably the best way to convey my skills is to list all of the tools I own:

  • 9.6 volt cordless drill
  • Hammer
  • 2 tape measures
  • Needle nose pliers
  • 3 screwdrivers
  • Channel lock pliers (I had to ask someone what they were called)
  • Ratchet set
  • Wire cutters
  • Wire strippers

The truth is that if it can’t be done with those tools, I shouldn’t be doing it.

My wife, knowing my skills, asked me skeptically “can you hang all these mini blinds yourself?” and that’s when my manly pride kicked in. “Mini blinds? Really? They’re just mini blinds. Your average, every day, village idiot can hang mini blinds.” Over the next few hours I learned that my skill set is somewhere just below “average, every day village idiot.”

At first I blamed my tools- “I obviously don’t have the right attachment for this drill.”
Then I blamed the mini blind makers- “Could they have put the screw holes in a more inconvenient location?”
Then I blamed the windows- “How am I supposed to make a flat connector piece stick to a curved window frame?”
Then I did what I probably should have done from the beginning- I realized that hanging mini blinds is a lot easier when you aren’t complaining about having to hang mini blinds.

It still took a long time. Seriously, it’s a good thing Disney never made a Handy Manny episode about hanging mini blinds because that one still wouldn’t be over. Now all but one of our sixteen windows are covered (My wife bought the wrong size for one of our windows. Yes! Someone else to blame!) so I can move on to easier things like curtain rods, pictures, and mirrors. Maybe I should check the yellow pages for our village idiot’s listing.

A few things I learned from this experience:

  • The macho gene must ride along with the Y chromosome. I have never been Mr. Fixit, but put a drill in my hand and suddenly I think I’m Bob Vila.
  • Just because I am not good at something doesn’t mean it’s unimportant.
  • A task is easier when I am determined to succeed rather than trying to avoid failing.
  • When I realize a task is going to take longer than I anticipated, complaining doesn’t speed it up.
  • If Adolf Hitler and Bloody Mary had a child together that kid would have invented mini blinds.

I Got to Interview My Hero

Jeff Postlewaite has been an inspiration to all of us here at 141plus and it is not an exaggeration to say that without him this blog would not exist. Recently he was kind enough to answer a few questions about his attempt to read the entire Bible through in 90 days.

141plus: Thanks for talking to me today, it really is an honor.

Jeff: No problem, I love talking about myself.

141plus: That’s why we like you. Tell me how you came up with the idea for B90X.

Jeff: As much as I hate to give credit where it’s due, I’ve got to say it was @webby778’s idea for our 20somethings Bible study to do it. I think it was @bulaski3 who came up with the name.

141plus: What did it involve?

Jeff: It was really simple—I think that’s what I liked best about it, its simplicity—just try to read the Bible through in 90 days. We started on June 16 and were attempting to be done by September 13.

141plus: When did you finish?

Jeff: October 7

141plus: So you failed…

Jeff: No, I succeeded at B113X!

141plus: What caused the delay?

Jeff: I got behind three times before September and caught up all three times. In September school started and I got into the New Testament. School limited the amount of time I had to just sit down and read and the New Testament has too much doctrine to read quickly. Even when I spent the same amount of time I wasn’t reading as much because I caught myself re-reading a lot.

141plus: With all due respect, it sounds like you were trying to read the Bible quickly just so you could tell people you did. I know you posted about it on your blog TWICE and even made a public Facebook group to tell people about your progress.

Jeff: Ever notice that when people start a sentence with “with all due respect…” what they say next is never respectful?

141plus: Hey, I’m doing this interview, I’ll ask the questions! If your purpose wasn’t building your ego, what was it?

Jeff: I needed a metaphorical kick in the pants. Some would say I needed a not-so-metaphorical kick in the pants. I felt that my personal devotion to God’s Word was lacking and I needed a reason to hold myself accountable to systematically going through the Bible.

141plus: You can’t tell me that you actually absorbed all of the information in the Bible reading through that quickly.

Jeff: You’re right, I can’t say that, but that wasn’t really the purpose. It was more about getting an overview of scripture and forming a habit of spending time in God’s Word.

141plus: Any unexpected benefits?

Jeff: I was surprised at how the habit has stuck. Even though I was very behind on day 90 there had been only a few days the entire 3 months when I hadn’t read anything. In fact, I’ve started a new Bible reading program since, but this one’s not quite as ambitious. It’s a one year chronological plan. I really feel that God’s Word is more a part of my routine life than it ever has been.

141plus: How many people actually finished B90X?

Jeff: I’m not sure. I know we started with about 30 and most, like me, got behind at some point. I know several who are still plugging along. The 90 day pace really was quite a commitment of time. I hope to hear of several others finishing soon.

141plus: It really was an honor to speak with you today. We are looking forward to getting you to write a piece for this blog sometime.

Jeff: I’m pretty sure you can’t afford me.

141plus: Probably not. Thanks again and I hope the satellite delay wasn’t too annoying.

Jeff: …glad to do it…what?

I have a blog!

Like most blogs, this one is a digital monument to the ego of the author. So why did I finally decide to have my own blog several years after the trend has jumped the shark? Here are a few reasons:

  1. I write a lot anyway so I figured I would at least make some of it public.
  2. I like to philosophize and, like most modern philosophizers, I assume everyone wants to know my opinion.
  3. I’m tired of using Facebook notes to express my longer ideas.
  4. Sometimes the 140 characters on Twitter just aren’t enough to express a complete thought.

What will you find here? Whatever I happen to be thinking about. I’m not going to use the word random because I don’t believe humans are capable of random thought–something triggers each thought process and we can usually trace it back logically. Did you know that when you are referring to a word but not actually using the word like I used random in the previous sentence, it is correct to italicize the word not put it in quotes? Many would call that fact a “random fact” (notice the proper use of quotation marks), but it wasn’t random at all because there was a logical thought process that led to it. Was it good writing? Not even close, but that is the type of thing you can expect here.

Enjoy.