It’s up to us to include the crap factor of others as well as our own when planning to accomplish something. One method of dealing with the crap factors is to plan for contingencies. A contingency is nothing more than a possible future event we know may happen but are unable to predict with certainty. When planning we include buffer or cushion to protect ourselves from the crap that can happen.
Have you ever been in a hurry. It happens. We often don’t give ourselves enough time to get a series of things done. Even when we’re not in a hurry crap can happen that creates angst or frustration. The other day, my family and I went to the store. The kids were a little high-strung which left my wife and I a little on edge. We got through it though. After our hunting and gathering of groceries with the frozen items picked up last, we choose a line that looked like it would go quickly. The cart in front of us only had a few items left where the other two lanes had carts full of stuff. After the checker finished, the lady in line who was on the phone talking to some friend pulled out a notebook. Out of this complicated project planning notebook, came what looked like 100 coupons. She set them on the counter in two piles because of the type of coupons. The checker signed exasperatedly. I looked at the frozen items in our cart and then to my wife with dismay. The kids were getting antsy and were fidgeting with anything they could touch. The checker processed the coupons as quick as he could in about 3 minutes. It seemed like an eternity while I noticed the other lines getting to carts that had arrived after us. Ugh. I looked up when the checker had processed the coupons and noticed the woman just beginning to write out a check. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Luckily my wife was there. She commiserated with me and we decided to have her take the kids out to the car so the situation wouldn’t get worse.
Coming from an environment at work where efficiency and effectiveness are fundamental, it is sometimes very hard to let go and allow the world to work the way it does. At work we push so hard to get things done as effectively and efficiently as possible in order to make high-reliability spacecraft components and systems. In the rest of the world, people just don’t have the same focus or mindset. Thus, there’s a big crap factor we have to put up with when we interact with our fellow humanity. I imagine for some, my focus on effectiveness, efficiency and improvement is a crap factor they have to put up with. Alas, it is up to each of us to allow the world to be as it is. When we expect it to be different from what it is, we open the door to suffering. So when we plan our activities or have to change things up in the middle of making things happen ,we need to remember to include crap factors to protect ourselves from our own expectations.