Posts Tagged ‘persistence’

Stay in the Game, Kid

December 2, 2014

One of the things I love about winter days is how dramatic everything looks when sunlight pierces banks of dark grey clouds scurrying across the sky. The way the light illuminates shards of landscape differs from what we see in the summer. Luxuriating in such pockets of unexpected warmth when, all around me, winds blow through trees stripped bare of their leaves is a special pleasure, reminding me that not everything about winter is hopeless. There are reasons to keep going.


A few weeks ago, I had a most unusual dream where someone I barely know and who I consider ambitious to the point of being obnoxious—the very worst of those Washington creatures we see lampooned on tv—wrote me an email in which he said, “Stay in the game, kid.” Even in my dream, I recall being surprised by this message. I’ve thought about it often since then, obviously so often that I’m bothering to write about it here.


What is a message you’ve received in a dream that made a big impact? What did you do with that communiqué?


Folks are all over the map with regard to dreams, whether they have them or not, remember them or not, and put any credence in them…or not. I almost never remember my dreams, so the fact that this one was so clear cut has emboldened me to continue with my writing and not give up entirely on my formal job search, as anemic as it is. There’s a reason why I love The Little Engine That Could.


Often in life, we are asked to make an “illogical leap” of one sort or another. We can’t explain why we’re doing what we’re doing—we may not even understand it ourselves, but we reach a point where we become compelled to zag, leaving the zigs firmly behind. People look at us and think we’re crazy or suspect we suffer from some undiagnosed disorder, but there we go zagging away, having no clue where it will take us.


What comes up for you when you think about illogical leaps?


You may have heard about an upcoming film, The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, about the brilliant and tragic English mathematician Alan Turing. Turing was part of an extraordinary and motley team assembled at Bletchley Park that successfully broke the German’s Enigma Code. There is much to be said about this fascinating topic, but what I choose to focus on here is the connection between illogical leaps and breaking the code. Now, I don’t hold myself out as any sort of expert, but from my readings on the subject, what I discern is that the method by which the Enigma codes were set each day was a completely mechanized process—the randomness that so often accompanies how humans decide things had been removed from this process. Hitler didn’t trust people and wanted to eliminate any human influence in how the daily codes were created. And it was precisely because this arbitrary element was missing that the Bletchley team was able to crack Enigma open. Winston Churchill believed that what occurred at Bletchley shortened WWII by years, saving hundreds of thousands of lives. They kept at it, and eventually the key to the code revealed itself to them. “Stay in the game, kid. Stay in the game.”


My point is this: sometimes, the thing that will save us is the preference we can’t justify, the choice we can’t explain, the decision that makes no sense. You just keep trying. What happens next is anyone’s guess, but remaining rooted in a mechanized process can spell disaster.

Code breaking





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