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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

A conversation between education and experience.

I was asked to help with a project that is very unique. You can see it here. On this particularly day there was a man and wife out at that project site. This man was introduced to me as “the man who did the math calculations for the space lab”. He held a doctorate degree in advanced quantum physics. Needless to say, he was very smart. Then, there is me. I was running the front loader (big tractor) for the heavy lifting. Well, during some down time this gentleman comes up to me. So, there we were standing next to this tractor. Mind you, we have nothing in common, brains and brawn, young and mature, having an awkward moment. He says to me, “do you know the physics of that hydraulic cylinder?” I respond with, "what?" He says “the math, do you know the mathematical equation of how the fluid is pressed into that cylinder to make it work?” I say, "ah, no sir, I have no clue." He does one of those awkward laughs and says, “of course not” and shakes his head knowing that his attempt to bond with me was not going well.

Feeling bad for my shortness, I make a friendly attempt to have him explain it to me. I was no smarter when he finished but he was happier. I looked at him and asked, “every been on a tractor?” He says “no, but it looks like fun”. So, I have him climb up onto the tractor with me and drove him around the site. He was like a kid in a candy store. As we drove past his wife he starts to wave to her. I smiled and said, “Does your wife want a ride?” He says to me “is that even possible?” "Oh yea, have her climb up here." So there I am, giving tractor rides to the man who did the calculations for the space lab and he was happier then a pig in a wallow. What’s my point, you may be asking by now.

Never under estimate what have you brought to the table. I could not tell you why that tractor worked, but he could. He could not tell you how that tractor worked but I could. Together we completed each others' knowledge. I have had some great opportunities to work alongside some brilliant minds. Many of them way more educated than I could ever dream of being. But I bring to the table something different, something that they need and want. I bring the ability to put their knowledge into motion. Each of us brings something wonderful and unique to the table, never underestimate your contribution.

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