Are You Fair Dinkum?

Are you “Fair Dinkum” or do “you seek confirmation of the genuineness or truth of something” or do you just “go with the flow?” In Australian, this phrase means a bit more, to have total commitment to what we are doing. Do not be lukewarm, be hot or cold. Bilbo Baggins of Bag End, is the protagonist and titular hobbit of the story, the Hobbit. He was asked to go on a great adventure by Gandalf, but had to leave right away. In many ways we are like Bilbo Baggins starting a new adventure when we start a new project or when we start a new job. Are we totally committed, or do we have in the back of our minds that I can always try something different. Even if the project will be over quickly or the job is not our desired job, intend to contribute as much as possible and learn as much as possible. People with whom we work will be grateful and be willing to help in the future. Some of these people become some of our closest friends. If we do not fully commit, this will never happen. When we work with others, our goal should always be to do what is best for ourselves and for others we work with and serve.

Notice that in this article I prefer to use the terms I and we instead of you. There are two reasons. This applies to me as much as to anyone else. Another reason for this is that when a person uses “you” to start a sentence it may make the other person feel less. Part of being fully committed is to be fully committed to good communication. I teach computer science, many of you who are reading this are students in these classes. As an example of this, which feels better? 1) “I noticed a problem with the code that was produced, to solve that problem, the solution is to …” or 2) “You know better than doing that, you have made that mistake so many times.” Which seems better? Which would each of us prefer hearing? How should we talk with others? 1) “I feel concerned about…” or 2) “You always…” Choose words wisely in working with others. Be totally committed to be “Fair Dinkum.”

I am very impressed with my CSC160 class, each student is dedicated to learning new material and doing it well. I enjoy this group and hope I can work with them second semester. There are many aspects of life that can be related to an acorn. Acorns cannot do much at first, but as they blossom as a tree they can produce so much more, including eventually producing other acorns. Using the computer programming example, as we learn new concepts, we can first implement those concepts in our programs, eventually we can go from using the exact code to using the concepts presented to produce new code, then eventually teaching other people how to best use these new concepts (being the producer of more acorns). Are you Fair Dinkum?

Act on best Instincts (or GUT) and not Intentions. Our intuition works far better than our intentions in making good choices. We all have choices, some are good, some are better, and a few can wind up our best decisions. How do we weed out the best solution in a reasonable amount of time. Each situation is different and requires intuition to solve the problem. Even with the best of plans, we are not guaranteed success the first time around. Failure is one of the biggest teachers to bringing success. When Thomas Edison set out to invent the light bulb, he was not successful for at least 5,000 times. When asked about his “failures” he said that he had not failed but learned 5,000 ways to not create a light bulb. As we learn new skills, we will probably learn many ways that will not solve the desired goal. Those attempts are great learning experiences, treat them as such. To be successful, have high concerns and high expectations. Be Fair Dinkum!

Desired solutions change as we learn more. Some new solutions are more difficult to find than solutions we can base on intuition and past experiences. Whenever we come across a tough situation we think we may have not encountered before, look for similarities to solutions we have developed previously. Other people in our organization may also have ideas on how to solve problems. Freely share ideas. We are all better together. As long as we do not worry about who receives the credit, so much better solutions are created. We each need to be our best to encourage others to be. Share knowledge and experience and others will usually do the same. Occasionally we each come across someone who does not freely share, Usually there is a reason for this. Help each other to be the best to have the best possible team to come up with the best possible solution. No one is the keeper of all good ideas and decisions. Be careful and caring, help those who are in new positions that they have not held before. succeed. We are all in this together. From past experiences leading teams, it is vital that the leader listen to all stakeholders and make decisions that are best for all members of the team. Decisions need to be made, but members of the team will have information that is vital to creating the best outcome for the team. Be Fair Dinkum!

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