Posts Tagged ‘Skills’

I’ve been doing some thinking today about thinking: where thoughts come from, where ideas originate, the thought processes that lead from concept to idea to practical consideration of those ideas.

And something’s been running through what I laughingly refer to as my brain, about different skills that people have, and particularly the opposite to the “eureka moment”.

Anyone, in any job, knows the “eureka moment”; it’s that split second when due to your professional expertise, or your knowledge and experience in your chosen career, something ‘clicks’: you solve a problem, you see where the error is, you come up with a solution that’s been bugging you and/or your colleagues.

It feels great when it happens, and for many folks whose primary motivation is the intellectual satisfaction they get from their work, it genuinely does make the rest of the time worthwhile.

So what’s the opposite?

It’s what I’m going to call the “naah moment”, which I’d define as that moment when you look at something and know that it’s not right, but for a second (or even longer) you don’t know why it’s not right.

It’s an accountant looking at a balance sheet and going “Naah”, knowing beyond peradventure that something’s just not quite right about it.

It’s an artist looking at an image and seeing something wrong, but it takes a moment to see why.

It’s a writer, reading a piece of prose and just knowing that there’s a better way of putting it, but not immediately being able to reword it.

It’s a musician hearing a piece of music and it being ‘off’ but for a moment, or for days, the musician can’t quite say why.

The “naah moment”.

But what’s really making me wonder – and ponder – is that if it’s true that different parts of the brain deal with different appreciations: the parts of the brain that deal with vision are different from those that process hearing, say, then does the “naah moment” originate in different parts of the brain depending upon who’s thinkin’ it?

Hmm – something to think about? Naah, maybe not.

Been a while since I’ve done this, almost a year…

Some years ago, there was a series of guide books to software entitled Tips, Tricks and Traps. Written distinctly with tongue firmly in cheek, the books purported to be merely a guide to the very important, nay vital things you needed to know in order to use a specific piece of software. Of course, the books were nothing of the sort – they covered everything from the very basic to the quite advanced.

They all ended up with three ‘lists of ten things’, which were essential reading. The first was “Ten Things you really do need to know”; the second was “Ten Things that it’s very helpful to be able to do”. The last was the genius bit: “Ten Things you’ll need beer for,” the idea being that with these things, it took too much time to learn how to do them, so it would be much easier to go to someone who really knew the software and say to them: “if I buy you beer, will you please do this for me?”

Now, I have no beer, but I sometimes get incredibly envious of the skills possessed by other people.

Time to address that envy, I think.

Teach me one thing about your job, or a skill you possess, something that the odds are that I don’t know. (Note, I’m not asking what skills you possess – I’m requesting that you teach me something about that skill…)

You want examples? OK, well, say you spend your professional life writing. Then tell me how you get over ‘writer’s block’. Or if you can touch type, what’s the hardest word to type, and how do you remember it? You’re a whiz at teaching others mnemonics? Then teach me some. Or if you write gags, how do you know what’s funny and what’s not? Or if you write web pages, did I know that by sticking <b> and </b> around a word, I’ll make it appear emboldened? (Well, “yes“, is the obvious answer to that one…)

Other examples people have taught me over the years include:
– how to feed a cat a tablet
– a sommelier explaining how he decides the description of a wine
– the key to cleaning up images for icons
– how to breed fruit flies
– the best way to corner at speed
– a teacher taking me step by step through the process of the “you’re about to be in trouble” stare
– how to design a room
– the placement of word balloons
– how to learn a really difficult piece of music
– to create a genuinely blind hem on a satin bridal gown or other formal outfit
– how to calculate the flow of bubble bath when you bathe
– how a cover teacher knows your name in class (when you don’t think they do)

Go on then – teach me something about your job, or a skill you possess.