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  June 13, 2014
Don’t Be Such A Tool...



"There was a time when nails were considered high-tech... technology is just a tool... and people need to use tools to help improve their lives... "                
~Tom Clancy 

Way back in the days of the caveman (or is it caveperson?), tools were rudimentary... at best...

Pretty much the tools of the day were basically found in three categories:

  1. Sharp projectiles that caused puncture wounds to animals (spears, arrows)
  1.  Sharp implements that caused lacerations (knives, scrappers)
  1. Heavy things used to pound or grind (clubs, smooth rocks)

That was about it... life wasn’t too complicated for cavemen... eat... procreate... don’t get eaten...

The idea of using tools is really a higher order function generally permissible due to the notion of opposing thumbs, Monkeymeaning that the thumb can touch all of the other fingers (unlike our feet). 

This feat is somewhat confined to primates which helps to differentiate that species from others.

Now leap forward a few million years (or 6000 years if you are a creationist)...

The tools of modern life number in the 10’s of millions. 

Just take a walk through the tool aisle at your local home depot... there are at least 50 different screwdrivers and 30 different hammers... each one slightly different than another...

Stop by your local auto mechanic and you will see a tool box filled with a variety of devices and implements uses for very specific purposes.  The mechanic doesn’t try to use a hammer and vise-grips in lieu of a screw driver.  Each tool in his tool kit has its own use.

The right tool for the right job is by no means just for auto mechanics. 

In fact, every given profession has its own particular set of tools... be it chef, electrician, accountant, or professional golfer.  

A professional golfer has no use for lemon zester... in the same way a pastry chef has no use for a 3-iron.

The tools we use are very specific to the problem that we are trying to solve.

Additionally, just because we possess the tool, doesn’t necessarily mean that we know how to use it.  I happen Monkeyto own both a lemon zester and a 3-iron and I can’t use either one with any real proficiency.

Having the proper tools does indeed help someone who knows how to adeptly use them but offers no great help to the novice. 

The entire golf equipment industry is built upon selling the notion to the weekend golfer that the only thing that stands in their way of a sub-80 round of golf is the right clubs and ball.  

I’ve seen some of the worst golfers playing with some of the best and most expensive equipment... when in fact, what they should have done with their money is buy some lessons from a training professional and practice a lot.

Even the best tools in the hands of an amateur do not help to create better work.

Most people who use a PC computer know how to use MS Word.  It is a powerful tool... in fact, it is one of the most complex and robust word processing programs in the market today.

But no matter how powerful your word processing program is... it still will not help you to write a great novel. 

In the same way a hand-crafted guitar will not help you to play better music or a better set of cooking utensils will make you a great cook.

The problem today is that most of us have so many tools at our disposal that we have not actually learned to master any of them.  We somehow are under the belief that the tools themselves will fix our problems, not the knowledge, skill, or creativity in knowing how to actually use those tools.    

And when we do learn to use a particular tool in an efficient manner, we tend to use it as a way to solve every problem.

We figure out how to use a hammer... and soon we try to use the hammer to fix everything...

While, there are indeed many uses for a hammer... for a great majority of our problems... a hammer alone will simply just not work.  If we want to be able to solve more complex problems, we will need to learn new skills using additional tools.

We would become more useful if we also learned to become skilled at using a saw, drill, screw driver and wrench.

The same basic principle applies to our professional career and personal relationships.

We become so accustomed to using just a few tools that after a while we become complacent and we don’t grow as a person...

For example, when our child is a 5-year old, we can set the rules of the house by declaring, "... because I said so". 

Now try that same communication method with that same child once they’ve reached their teenage years.

Unfortunately that "... because I said so" edict doesn’t seem to work as well on a 15-year old as it once did when they were 5.

We continually go to our toolbox and pull out the hammer and then try to figure out why our hammer doesn’t work anymore... it’s not the hammer... it’s just the wrong tool.  We haven’t taken the time to learn about other tools that we can use to help us with various problems.

The same types of things happen to us in the workplace.

Many of us are set to wonder why we continually get passed up for a promotion or worse... we are terminated.

One of the biggest reasons why we don’t find success in our careers is because we haven’t taken the time and/or made the effort to learn how to do new things by acquiring additional skills and applying those skills to take on more responsibilities.

Earning more money at your place of work (or staying employed) is a function of becoming more productive at your job... or better yet... learning new skills that you can add to your job responsibilities that will in turn make the company more money.  

When a company is making more money, they tend to be willing to pay better wages in order to retain those valuable people who help make them profitable.

Very few employers, these days, are willing to pay an employee more money for just keeping a seat warm and doing the same thing they’ve always done...

The use of tools to be more productive is a paradox.

Today our choices in finding and using the right tools are truly unlimited.  

However it’s important that we take the time to actually master the tools that we have chosen and continually expand our skill set so we can become better at actually solving problems using the tools available to us in our personal toolbox...

Becoming the person who has the means and the methods to solve more complex problems in a more efficient manner will cause us to become indispensable...

Thank you for your support of OptiFuse where we hope to be your indispensable tool, helping you to solve more of your circuit protection problems...


Jim Kalb

Email -  jimk@optifuse.com
Website - www.optifuse.com
Blog - www.optifuse.blogspot.com 

Twitter - @OptiFuse

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