I write about the same things every single day. As I try to keep coming up with new topics to write about I reach out to my friends and ask for ideas. I feel like I can write on almost anything and yet every topic I take on always goes right back to writing about those few things that I am truly passionate about. It is with some trepidation that I take on Ricarda’s topic of flexibility. I am sure she would like to see some variety in my writing and is offering me a chance to demonstrate my own flexibility with my writing style.

The first thought that entered my mind upon seeing the topic was human flexibility in the literal sense of the anatomy, muscles and stretching. I am sure we all have seen the little pixie gymnast that could contort herself into all kinds of provocative and unnatural shapes. Those girls are too young so get your mind out of the gutter. Secondly, do not expect that kind of flexibility out your latest girlfriend either. Enough of my dirty thoughts, I need to move on to a little more serious and PG rated material.

As I thought about my own physical flexibility or the lack thereof I try to rationalize it in my mind and chalk it up to all the heavy lifting I have done in my life. Being a bench press specialist for a good portion of my life I was able to over develop my chest and shoulders pulling my shoulders unnaturally forward. As my flexibility diminished exercises like squats became near impossible as I was no longer able to reach back to the bar. Simple things like putting my hands behind my head or even behind my back became impossible. This little detail leads to all kinds of fun every time I was arrested. Try as they might my wrists will not go together behind my back to allow for the cuffs to be put on. I am sure a little stretching was in order somewhere along the journey. I probably forgot to mention getting fat generally does nothing good for your flexibility but I am sure that was not the problem for me. Even if it was part of the problem I would hope that I could admit it.

The mental part of flexibility is something I feel is one of my strengths. I am the out of the box thinker willing to go with whatever works. I am not a particularly rigid project manager and whatever happens to come along I just take it in stride and get it handled. I think a good example of this is the local forum of Project Management Institute (PMI) where I am the forum chair. Every month we have a dinner meeting and we feature a guest speaker and usually host from 20 to 50 guests. Our team is small and all volunteer and every month something comes up that keeps one or two of the team from attending and the team just adapts and covers for one another. I am very proud of that leadership team and their ability adapt and succeed. This flexibility in leadership is not something that comes easy and it requires that I trust the entire and know that no matter what we will make it work.

As an engineer flexibility in design means something entirely different. The flexibility allows the design to be adapted and easily changed to meet several goals. By designing in flexibility the engineer can make a product that can be adapted for several uses such as a stadium or an arena that can easily host hundreds of different events well. A flexible design on a roadway project may be one that allows for adjustment during design to allow the earthwork quantities to balance. This is done by the engineer putting flexibility in hi design to allow grades to be easily raised or lowered based upon the needs of the project. I learned this particular skill while designing and building casinos. The layout of the slot machines on the casino floor could change to any number of configurations and the design has to accommodate those changes. I had to learn this skill as I was not accustomed to shooting at a moving target coming out of college.

I managed to write an entire piece without working in a single poker example from my personal life. I guess I am learning a little balance. Thanks Ricarda for the topic and I hope everyone out there thinks for a minute about the mental side of things and learns to loosen up just a little bit and be a little more flexible in their everyday life. I guess that includes the bedroom too.

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2 Responses to “Flexibility”

  1. Thomas DeArth Says:

    Hey Victor,

    Hope that all is well. I have to tell you that throughout my career, I have found that (for the most part) engineers lack flexibility. Working with professionals from a variety of disciplines (e.g., chemists, engineers, geologists, toxicologists, hydrogeologist, biologists, environmental scientist) when I find I am hitting brick wall it always an engineer and his/her inability to see things differently. I find that the best solutions comes out of a multi-disciplinary approach but have to fight with engineers constantly on being more flexible. I find it to be a significant detriment to identifying the best solutions. As you know all engineers are right. Hmmm, I wonder if my wife was once an engineer.

  2. victorshaw Says:

    I have to agree with you. Engineers are not very flexible and often have trouble seeing a solution other than their own.

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