An engineering problem

In class four years ago, I heard the story of how Shigeo Shingo (supposed creator of the SMED approach) was able to overcome the limitations implied by Harris’ Economic Order Quantity. The idea he applied was simple, but at the same time, it blew my mind the way the story was told.

You don’t always have to accept your limitations as they are implied (or even defined) by math or science. Sometimes you have the ability to change your limitations, and via that change you can replace your old limitations with new limitations that you’ve consciously defined.

As I read over my summary, I feel like it’s both ridiculously obvious and yet profound at the same time; on a logical level, it boils down to almost nothing.

For most of my life, I’ve been unaware of the concept of emotion. Needless to say, I didn’t understand what my own emotional, social, and other well-being needs were, or that they were important at all. Then, three years ago, I became aware of the world of emotion. I learned that these needs exist, and that emotions have to be acknowledged and processed in some way in order for them to not build up until they become overwhelming. But in part, I overcompensated for my history of emotional repression. I respected some emotions too much, gave them too much free rein, and even glorified them while continuing to deny other emotions that were more uncomfortable but equally important. I must change that, and I believe that I can. What I’m trying to do could well be the hardest thing I will ever do in my life, or it could be my ultimate ruin.

I have all these external psychological needs that are all but tangible and that I struggle to meet. I’ve tried for a long time to change the circumstances and manipulate the external factors in order to meet these demands. But it doesn’t work in the long-term, and the practical costs are exorbitant. It’s never enough. This is an engineering problem, and the solution is to effect a change in my internal workings such that the available external resources are rendered sufficient for my new internal needs.

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