Sunday, November 14, 2021

Enough and the Pendulum

There is a concept in the personal finance realms about enough. It's similar to the concept of a pendulum seeking to be right in the middle, yet swinging from one extreme to another. Today I'm thinking about it in the context of emotions. Specifically, how different people emotionally relate and communicate. None of us are perfectly rational creatures, and I think the more we've been given or fortunate enough to stumble into the harder it is for us to understand those without those luxuries. 

For example, for the person in the right place at the right time to be promoted to be a manager at 25 years old, it's easy to believe in your own excellence rather than recognizing that you fell into that position through the people you randomly knew and being in the right place at the right time. What does this have to do with enough? Well, enough is wildly different in different situations. From a financial perspective, the wealth of the world makes it so that honestly we almost don't have to work to maintain 90 year old standards of living. Yet we do keep working, to buy nicer cars, bigger houses, fancy phones, season ski passes, a second home, etc. Another example, at some point in the future I'd like to try full time entrepreneurship again, yet I feel inadequate. I was just thinking yesterday however, that I've had six different jobs, structural analysis engineer (FEA), structures design engineer, drivetrain systems design engineer, axle design engineer, configuration engineer, and now manufacturing engineer. That's quite the gamut of engineering experience, and honestly I don't know of any of my engineering friends who have covered so much different ground. So how much is enough? I don't know.

Getting back to emotions, I think an advanced part of emotional intelligence is communicating with people on the level they are at. What I mean is we all have different ways to communicate and articulate our emotions, even if we don't communicate them as emotions.  Here is a graph for a simple example. You could insert any number of other spectrums, like not anxious to anxious, not laughing to laughing so hard your stomach hurts. 

Going from Calm to Angry, and how do you communicate with someone who does it differently than you?

If calm is zero and angry is a 10, for people that jump from 0 to 10 they have trouble articulating and communicating with a person who ramps up and is at level 2 because in their head you're either in or your out, when for the person than ramps up it's more of a 'hey, this thing is bothering me'. To rephrase this in the pendulum analogy, if you want to be in the middle, there is always something to be angry about or upset about, take global injustices or systemic inefficiencies. If we really want to make this world better, there must be things we can work to fix. If we were perfectly calm we are ignoring those imperfections. Yet for a person who goes from no emotional response to yelling,  receiving communication with even some emotion might be hard to deal with. 

I don't know. I write these things to help me work them out in my own head even when what I write isn't fully formed and I know it's not perfect. As I've said before, I think the meaning of life is relationships so I  try to make them better. That can be super difficult sometimes as I try to figure out how to communicate with people where they are at.