Friday, December 09, 2011

Habit and Perception

The other day I took a shower. I do this when I intend on meeting other humans during the day, and this was to be a day of meeting other humans, so a shower was necessary. When the shower was complete I grabbed my handy dandy bath towel and proceeded to dry off. However, this time, the towel had a tang to it, an oldness, an odor... This has happened to me before in the past, and I am not properly equipped to deal with this situation. You see the bath towel is a bit of a mystery to me. Its simply there for my use. And for a while it will remain there, a blue towel, hanging where I expect it to hang, standing at the ready. Then one day it will change to another colored towel. This towel is also a bath towel and serves the same purpose, and by all accounts in my mind, is the same towel, simply different. I often wonder where the blue one went. But I end up seeing it again, some other day. They come and go from my use with a similar mystery as other items in my life that vanish, only to appear later where I originally found them. It sure makes life exciting to not understand it all, to live and witness such magical behavior.

So, there I stand with my smelly bath towel, wondering what to do. The magic task of switching towels is so magical, I was not sure where to start. Where to look. Where to go. I secretly hoped that if I closed my eyes the magic towel switched to the new one, solving my problem. I was alone. No one I could ask. No help to be received. I was alone.

As I wondered around the room and adjoining rooms, searching for a towel, I walked past 2 towels that were guarding the corner of the bedroom. 1 towel was from a work we had this past summer. It was a nice blue hue with a company logo on the corner. It was fairly new. The other was from a racquetball tournament. The first was given at a pool party event, while the latter was given during a tourney. Both seemed to have a specific purpose. And neither of those purposed seemed to be for post shower use. I dismissed them. They were not the intended targets. I needed a bath towel. I never thought of using them.

As I wondered around the adjoining rooms and storage areas, I encountered a fair share of similar items, but no true bath towel. I could not seem to decipher the runes indicating the direction and storage of these magical devices. Their purpose understood, yet their hiding place eluded me. I returned to the bedroom disappointed in my efforts and more so with their result. It was then that my eye was drawn to the 2 other items, similar to the elusive magical bath towel. Could I use either one of these objects? One was intended to live in a gym bag and dry my body after a shower from a work out. That was fairly similar to my morning bath. The other was used to dry me after a pool adventure from a work party. Also intended to be a drying device.

By golly, I think I had a bold, new, and exciting idea. I could use one of these items to complete the task I had at hand. Maybe they were not intended for this exact purpose, but they could do in a pinch. They would suffice. They would server the purpose and actually accomplish the goal. My morning wasn't actually in ruins anymore. Life could proceed, tasks could be completed, and so on. Yeah.

(Yes, I have fun writing up these little dramas, these little glimpses into the brains attempt at making entertainment of the simple, the mundane, the commonplace. I enjoy the dichotomy of a few moments of thought elongated into a tale that seemingly takes much longer to complete.)

What's the point of this little tale? Its about my perception. My habits. I had fallen into a habit of waiting for someone else to take care of my bath towel situation. I had the perception that the other towels in this tale were not intended as bath towels, as I needed. How often do we do this in our work? How often do we forgo a solution that is compatible, only because it is not the solution we expect to be the correct one?

Do we only use sp_who to diagnose an issue? Why didn't we use the DMVs? Did we use the DMVs when an sp_who or sp_who2 would have sufficed?

Do we open up a profiler session and monitor our production boxes instead of crafting a trace that will do this more nimbly, with less impact? And should we use the DMVs to dig into what we are looking for and skip the profiler and the trace all together?

Do you excuse an error that you see because you have seen it over and over and over, and believe that you have a grasp on what it means, why it occurs, and simply do not deem it worth your while?

Does the report run quick enough that no one is complaining, and why should you deal with it now? It works fine, doesn't it?

There are probably more questions I could ask. I hope that you are actually thinking of your own situations now. Those items that you have taken as habit, or have carefully crafted a perception that you can accept, be it correct or erroneous.

Take a step back. Look at the situation. Is this a habit, a bad habit? Should you do this differently? Look at how you perceive the situation. Is your perception jaded, twisted, erroneous?

If so, please have the courage to take the time to remediate the situation. Fix it. Make it better. Make it faster. Do it the right way. Investigate what the right way is.

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