A Few Keys To Manage Anything

Clockwork precision requires intelligent planning

This post is not about books, or love, or wine (though I enjoy all three) but about pivotal methods that, if adapted, will change how to manage any situation in life.

This post follows another recent post where I revealed other simple management secrets that are tornado powerful for achieving results.

Here we go.

Tides of life turn relentlessly

Realize that Change Can Happen Rapidly.

When I was about 10 or 12 years old, we spent some time living in Ireland (hence the name of this blog, after a nearby town named Roundwood) and one day I came home from school and found beneath our walnut tree hundreds of walnuts that had fallen, perhaps having been by wind. I collected many and put them in some bucket or pot. The walnut oil stained my fingertips, so at school the next days classmates asked if I had taken up smoking and rolling my own cigarettes.


I collected a bucket of walnuts, because I realized that more could be collected during the following days.

A day or two later I went out again.

The walnuts were gone!


Obviously some animals gathered them and  took them away.

I was shocked, but learned a powerful lesson:

Situations can change rapidly.

You can move from abundance to scarcity in no time, and from scarcity to abundance relatively quickly. There were times in life when I despaired—how would I get a job and income? Looking back, months later, from a nice home in Africa or from an apartment in Dubai, I appreciated reasons why life changed dramatically in a short period.

Three keys to help facilitate and propel such positive change are these:

  1. Identify what you want
  2. Keep an open mind.
  3. Maintain a positive attitude

Sometimes, intuition may help guide you in ways you never expected possible.

Put in the work, ask for universal guidance, and when opportunity rains on you, forget about opening your umbrella.

Best to drive when it’s not rush hour

Use the Power of Rhythm.

Once, I was with a brother and his wife and her sister camping out during winter in Colorado.

We stayed at a Mongolian style ‘yurt’ hut near Fort Collins. We skied in to this hut (it was not far from the car), and spent the night. I woke every few hours to stoke more wood into the stove to keep the inside space warm.

On our way home, our Land Cruiser got stuck in snow. Eventually another truck came along and the driver helped extricate our vehicle. We worked together to accomplish this, by rocking the vehicle. We pushed and let go and let the car return to its original position;  we then pushed again—and repeated this process several times until the vehicle was free. Pushing at strategic times was critical.

Imagine standing behind a child on a swing and pushing only when that swing stops moving at the height of its pendulum.

Injecting strategic energy at keys moments can help achieve optimal results.

So it is with life.

If you are working, working, working, working and moving like a rat on a cage wheel without rest or stopping—you are living inefficiently.

And you are probably stressed and feel imbalanced.

In breathing we use energy to inhale (actively), and then to exhale passively.

So it is with life.

Oscillate effort with rest for optimal results.

A forest of possibilities

Tweaking A Variable Can Change All Results.

While I was a volunteer in the country of Malawi in Africa, we attended a weekend seminar about ‘Value Engineering’ that was held by a donor agency.

We were trying to figure out which aspects of building a rural water supply system cost the most. During this exercise, a consultant from Washington DC plugged different factors related to a water project into a computer spreadsheet, and then generated results based on those inputs. The inputs may have included the cost of pipelines, cost of transportation, labor costs, etcetra. But when we watched what they did, it became obvious that by changing one variable a little this way, and a second or third variable a little that way—they could generate any result they wanted to. Because this was computer generated on a spread sheet and performed by a so called ‘expert,’ and because no one variable appeared to be a suspiciously overt outlier—the results could be manipulated with relative ease.

This truth led one Malawian engineer—who had never used a computer before but who had plenty of experience—to say  to this consultant (Malawians call any technical device a ‘machine’) —’Ah, but you are cheating us with your machine.’


Be wary —a few tweaks to common sense that are considered ‘truth’ can propel others to believe in what common sense would dictate as being invalid arguments.

We sometimes end up in unpredictable situations

Identify A Few Alternatives, then Deduce to Predict.

This subject enters Sherlock Holmes territory, where a fictional detective can generate conclusions by identifying possible alternatives, and then eliminating several as invalid.

The process is powerful.

When commercial aircraft crashed into the Twin Towers in New York city on September 11, 2001, I was sitting on an airline on the runway tarmac at Heathrow Airport in  London. We were about to take off. The pilot then told us that the flight was cancelled because two planes had crashed into a building in New York.

This sounded bizarre. First of all, our flight was destined for Chicago, not New York. Second, if one airline had flown into a building it could be considered unusual but understandable. But two flights?

Something was wrong. With seat mates we concluded that this was some orchestrated and pre-meditated event; we used simple deduction applied to key information.

When uncertain of situations, evaluate key facts to generate the likeliest alternatives before evaluating the entire picture.

In summary:

Be aware that changes can be rapid, respect the value of rhythm, understand the power of manipulating even one key variable, and evaluate key alternatives, emotionless, to improve a situation.







Comments from Readers

  • This is a lovely post!

  • Tom

    Thanks Jill!

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