Such Great Heights

It’s been a late night, but I wanted to share some things with all of you.

First off, happy birthday to my friend Mark. I had a great time talking with you this weekend, and I appreciate your friendship. Holly too (happy birthday).

I am a relationship oriented person. Ever since I saw the Disney movie “Brink” from back in the ’90s I have believed in these simple words of wisdom: “You are defined not by what you do, but by the relationships you keep, and how you keep them.” It has been a beneficial reminder in times when I struggle trying to fit into that ideal “engineer” lifestyle (or whoever I feel I need to be) by instead keeping me centered on the true definition of my life. When I have a relationship with someone, no matter how much they may look down on themselves, I hold that connection with greatest care and highest regard, simply because I know how important other people are in our lives.

In my robotics design project at school, we have roughly 19 people from different backgrounds that are working together for a common goal. We each bring something different to the table, some offering information about mechanical systems, some electrical systems, some programming, some satellite navigation systems, and (like myself), some visual systems. But each of these is crucial to the overall success of the project. Just this past Thursday, we spent a few hours with each group presenting information about new competition rules to our classmates, and I noticed how well we worked as a group. Almost everyone was attentive to whoever was speaking (some ideas are best to share immediately),  then we shared a brainstorming session where, unlike almost any other project I’ve been involved with, each person’s opinion was specifically cared for and considered. While some ideas were less effective, the result was an overall better understanding of our plan for solving each problem, including some unforeseen interactions between groups, where the cognitive group assisted in developing a new algorithm layout for vision and one of the electrical guys was able to find a more efficient method of solving our navigation issues that the navigation guys had not thought of already. Overall, I have come to believe in this team and the capabilities of each member simply because of how well we connect and how welcome each idea is.

Fortunately, this is not a rare situation for me. I am fiercely defensive of my belief that my friends are the best possible friends I could have; in fact, when we come together for anything from a game of Rock Band, to a beach barbecue, to polishing a perfect resume, my group of friends is perfect about bouncing ideas off of each other and reworking our original thoughts into something new that could not have been thought of by one man alone. And the results speak for themselves. I have no doubt in my mind that we will get far in life simply because of having the proper support of people who care about our ideas and well-being.

With such an open life ahead of us, we are easily persuaded by people who try to tell us who we are or what we’re supposed to be, which keeps us in and individual box that ultimately leads to dissatisfaction. But by allowing ourselves to be guided by relationships with people who care greatly about us, and working in conjunction for a common goal, we are capable of reaching such great heights that are only imagined alone.

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~ by MichaelStaudenmeir on November 21, 2010.

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