The Uncertainty Principle

Have you ever felt uncertain about where you are, and where you are going?

386a0ccf-cf8c-4eca-9eb5-055add7b6c0e-557-00000113f93609f1_tmpWhat’s in front of me? How much is left before _______ (fill in the blank)?  How did I get here from there? Or vice versa. How much time have I spent on this part of my life? How much is there left to do before it’s all completed?

It was Doris Day who quipped, “The really frightening thing about middle-age is the knowledge that you’ll grow out of it.”

There is a theory that is nearly 100 years in the making, and I’m pretty sure that smarter minds than mine thought about it long before it became verbalized into a mathematical equation.

You cannot measure the velocity of an object and it’s position at the same time. Exactly. It’s impossible. 

You may know it as the Heisenberg Uncertainity Principle presented by the German physicist Werner Heisenberg.  I had to look it up. I’ve heard the theory before but did not remember The Who, or The When.

It seems to be applicable in many fields of study especially when you are dealing with Momentum and Position.

You cannot measure where you are and the velocity of movement, so, you must be at two places at one time. One represents the “where” and the other represents the “movement”.

Now, you and I will probably never find a reason to utilize this principle in quantum mechanics or any other field of academia.

But we all know the feeling.

We know we are here, but we are moving in a direction that “here” changes as soon as we put a position pin on the map.  It’s like following yourself via a GPS mapping system on your phone. It’s never exactly showing where you are due to the lag time between the “where” and the “now”. After all it’s hundreds, if not thousands of miles of round tripping between your phone, a tower, satellite, a tower and your phone.

In another way, have you ever felt sure enough about direction but had a hard time putting your finger on the “where am I at right now”?

While traveling with family Saturday, mom kept trying to give me directions from the back seat, but the phone map was oriented upside down to her right side up thinking. Every time she turned the phone around, the map would reposition to be upside down.

This is how someone young feels when they are attempting to find out what their “life’s work” is supposed to be. Do what you love, the money will follow, or, do what brings the most money and you will end up lowing what you are doing.

Sort of reminds me of another viewpoint many of us have heard at one time or another:

Marry for money (or looks), love will follow.

It’s ridiculous being caught between two opposing view points and not knowing which way to turn! I should know where I am, and the speed at which I’m headed in the direction I’m pointed, so my present position should be mapped on my planning chart…I’m here. No. I’m here. No. I’m here…

Do not get caught in the measurement game of attempting to determine all the variables in your life equation and hoping to find stability and focus. Know what you want, move toward it in an organized path, check all the variables along the way, and realize you will get there eventually!

Back in the days of piloting, my flight instructor kept saying things like:

  • Plan your flight. Fly your plan.
  • Keep your head on a swivel looking for danger from other traffic.
  • Know your heading in case you get turned around you will always know which way to go.
  • Fly by the seat of your pants, and by the controls in front of your face.

Many comments like this makes you feel confused, until experience kicks in. Experience comes from time devoted to an endeavor. Practice your landings over and over till your wheels smoothly kiss the ground every time. A landing is just a “controlled fall” out of the sky, so practice your falls and stalls!

Before long you are reciting these mantra’s to other pilots and youngesters who say they want to fly. And you add a few new ones to the mix!

Back in my early programming days, a boss told me to ignore learning the language and learn the system. “Languages will come and go, but the processing of a system will always be the same.” So, I learned the systems, and sure enough, I’ve programmed in over 30 languages over the years. BUT, processing essentially remains the same.

Data In. Process. Data Out.

Simple. Right? Basically. Once you learn Accounts Receiveables, Payables, General Ledger, etc, the systems essentially function the same regardless of the language or the computer brand.

The problem many feel at various decision points, is determining which way to go? Most projects I’ve worked on had decision points built into the plan. Call them a Status Check. Weekly Review. Milestones.

We should build into a portion of our life’s project a check list to determine if we are still heading the right direction, along with the idea, “Is our direction ready for an adjustment?” 

Goals do change. A million dollars in retirement may be perfect today, but in 10 years it may be double. You will never know if you have not built in some review periods.

Here’s a thought for the day, regardless of where you are right now.

Know what makes you happy, and what will satisfy you. Know what your goal is, plan for successful attainment of the goal. Keep looking out for dangers and distractions along the way and know what it takes to escape them. Keep your focus. Allow for down time. Allow for busy times. Work hard. Keep pushing forward.

Know when to change directions because the world has changed around you…. (Still own an Osborne computer? Or Texas Instrument? Or Sinclair 1000?)

Presto! You have arrived. No matter what the Uncertainty Principle may say!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s