FRC Blog

Surprises

Aug 09, 2017 Written by Frank Merrick.

 

”Spider Surprise FIRST Robotics Competition

Spider I found in my bathroom. It was making a web. And signing up for Netflix. I think it’s intending a long-term stay. Pint of Ben & Jerry’s ‘Phish Food’ ice cream for scale.

 

I found a spider in my bathroom several days ago. It surprised me enough to make me say ‘ooh’ out loud. When I saw it, I was in the middle of my nightly bedtime routine, a routine I would bet most of us have in some form.

 

From what I’ve read habits like our bedtime routines make up somewhere in the neighborhood of 40% of our everyday activities. Think about it – so much of our time spent performing routines with limited mental effort. Habits are great to minimize the decisions we need to make, sparing the effort of active thought for more important tasks*. But some habits can be lousy at helping us to explore different options or to find new ways to grow our so-important social connections.

 

Surprises that interrupt habits can be gifts. Favorite restaurant unexpectedly closed? Long-time sponsor of your FRC Team can’t write that check this year? Regular Saturday meeting needs to be canceled? These can be doorways to something better. Not always but sometimes.

 

After this spider interrupted my nightly bedtime habit, I texted the photo above to my 14-year-old daughter, who was elsewhere in the house. She was delighted and told me she loved me. Or at least that’s how I choose to interpret “OMG DAD STOP”.

 

Frank

 

*I wonder if this is why vacations can seem tiring. Every normally routine action, from where to put your clothes to when to get up in the morning, requires investing some resources in decision-making.

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