Most Least

socs-badgeYour Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “most/least.” Use one or both of the words in your post or just write with one or both in mind. But whatever you do, have fun!

I read the SoCS prompt before leaving work yesterday and my mind got stuck on the thought that:

When the most you are willing to do is the least you can do, something is wrong.

I could not figure out what I meant by that.

On the ride home, I did what I normally do when I can’t figure something out. I tried to manipulate it like a problem to be solved. I’m not sure if that’s a guy thing, but it’s a “me” thing. If my wife expresses frustration with something, my mind starts noodling on a solution. I have almost learned to suppress statements that begin with: “maybe if you…” but the thought process is in high gear. I cooked up this chart, and I labeled the quadrants in my mind. In keeping with the spirit of SoCS, I tried very very hard not to edit or perfect my thinking on this.

Most Least Chart

Use the chart to rate the things you do/have to do/ might do/want to avoid and see how they rank relative to each other.

I’m not sure if this chart makes sense. It doesn’t really matter, I’m not actually trying to solve a problem today. I just think that ‘least-to-most’ is an interesting spectrum. It’s like the ‘Turtle-to-Bunny’ setting on my lawnmower. The endpoints represent the limits of operation, of participation of the ever-popular “engagement,” a word Brad Lewis and my daughter will probably ban from use in future blogs (Faith maintains a growing list of banned words).

The scale might be hard to understand, like I said, not a lot of thought went into this, but I think it works. “Effort” can be anything. Physical effort, mental effort, spiritual effort, etc. “Time,” well, time is constant. Time is time.

Think about the things in your life, the things that you do. Toss them on the chart where they fit relative to the time and effort you’re willing to put into them. Does where they fit make sense? I didn’t have a lot of time, my commute is only about 30 minutes but I thought about where I would place a bunch of things that I do. For example

Watching television – On an ordinary night, this would be a small amount of time and very little effort. On a night during the Twilight Zone Marathon, the mental effort increases as I try to understand the deeper meaning.

Family – Stick that in the upper right corner for me, at least with respect to what I am willing to do. I would do anything for these guys and I don’t really care how long it takes.

Reading – This is similar to watching television but I don’t think it can go as far into the lower left as TV. I simply won’t read something that requires no effort, and I will put extra effort into some reading. When I read Dr. Seuss books to my daughter, I worked hard to make up voices to accompany the characters or at least get the intonation correct. I also won’t move too far into the upper right with reading. Maybe when I was in college and the book was a Quantum Mechanics textbook, but nothing by choice these days.

Exercise – I enjoy exercise, but I don’t want to put in too much time and I don’t want to work too hard. I’ll ride a real bike for several hours, but after 45 minutes on an exercise bike, I’m done. I have an exercise bike at home. That’s a good thing, because I am not the kind of person who will stop at the gym on the way home, run at lunch or leave the house after dinner to exercise.

Writing – Now this is interesting. Clearly, I am willing to write an 800 word blog post although not much effort went into this one. I am willing to spew out my ideas and feelings and I’m even willing to do some research. I’m willing to go out and take some photographs. I’m willing to edit and re-work a post, seemingly forever (I first wrote The Jupiter Effect five months before posting it). Would I be willing to write a book? I don’t know.

I’m not sure if there is any value to this plotting exercise. I don’t know what it reveals. I don’t know if there’s any value to visualizing that reading a boring book is somehow lower or less interesting than watching a bad TV program. The only potential value I can think of is if my wife and I were to rank the same thing, perhaps several things. Then we could measure the relative distance between our rankings and figure out which thing would be the most enjoyable / least painful to endure together. Of course, my wife would say that I was over-thinking this.

About Dan Antion

Husband, father, woodworker, cyclist, photographer, geek - oh wait, I’m writing this like I only have 140 characters. I am all those things, and more, and all of these passions present me with opportunities to observe, and think about things that I can’t write about in other places. I have started this blog to catch the stuff that falls out, overflows and just plain doesn’t fit the other containers in my life.
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79 Responses to Most Least

  1. I think it absolutely is a guy way of thinking. My husband is very much the same.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I learned to use decision matrices in grad school. I still use them for the everyday problems that come up. Drives the family crazy when I mention “states of nature.” I think this was over the top well done.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Dan Antion says:

      Thanks John. It’s nice when my idiosyncratic tendencies work in my favor. My best friend and I constantly try to work through things as diverse as human classification to the problems with major league baseball. We frequently draw up a matrix or a diagram to help.

      I can understand your driving your family nuts, but sometimes, life’s problems can be solved!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. TheBraceletWriter says:

    I find this entry useful

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Faith Antion says:

    I’ve often heard that it’s a guy thing, but I’m also a “fixer.” I have to force myself to be mindful when listening to someone describe a problem, and focus more on listening than on solving. I also find it helpful (maybe just to make me feel better) to ask “would you like a suggestion for how to handle this or do you just need me to listen?” If they are interested in a suggestion, great, because I always have one, but if they tell me they just needed me to listen, I really have to shut up and do that now.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Dan Antion says:

      Hmm, you ask them first…interesting. I’m not sure I’ve ever done that :)

      I think women can be problem solvers, just as I’m sure some men can be listeners. It’s hard for me resist rushing to a solution though.

      Like

    • I have that problem too, trying to fix things. But it got me into emotional bondage; feeling like a failure because I couldn’t always fix people’s broken lives. Then one day God reminded me that I’m not God and He never told me I had to fix everything. A tremendous weight lifted off my shoulders.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I love graphs and so this was a no brainer to use. Painting = passion and so does fictions writing (M and I are writing a mystery.) Exercise is boring but right now I must so it is a requirement. Taxes and all things accounting go into the requirement category too because I MUST. But I am a skirt and so generally think more intuitively.
    And most men want to fix things (oh gads 3 brothers) and go about it a bit differently, but women can do this also. I find I want to fix things for M when I can, and he sometimes wants me to slow down about it, just listen. A bit of role reversal.
    My post today discusses this a but requires a different chart, and so does another artist’s post. (It’s in the ethers right now?) She finds when she does a piece over, takes a bit more time, it gets better. I find my first pass the best pass, then I begin to over-think. First thought best throught, least effort (the spontaneity is a ride) so to speak.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dan Antion says:

      Thanks for the comment Katie. Sometimes the first pass is good for me. Other times, I really have to rework things. It’s one of the reasons I like the SoCS prompts. They force me bring it out of my head the way it should be. I’ll check your post out after I take care of the snow.

      Like

  6. That’s an interesting chart. I like the concept.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. It’s such a guy thing….constant problem solver…my wife and I raised three girls, so I really had to try and not problem solve everything….it did force me to do more “active listening” which paid off in other areas. Your chart makes sense!! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Sammy D. says:

    Pretty impressive thought and writing organization for a piece with no editing, Dan! I’m envious 😊The chart is a bonus – I am a matrices person, but I have to work hard to understand graphs ( why is that – something about x and y axis I think – and where would I place my effort to understand a graph?). Now I’m asking myself q’s to see where I’d place them on your graph. Chocolate procurement ….

    Hub and I have gone ’round and ’round about the ‘sympathy vs solution’ so I try to tell him when I want sympathy (always!) rather than a solution (rarely). I tend to be like Faith – more likely to give a solution than sympathy, although I try harder now to ask what someone wants or give a little of both ( did I suceed, Maggie?!?)

    Liked by 3 people

  9. loisajay says:

    Yeah, I think this is definitely a guy thing. My approach goes something like this: We get an email from our supervisor or IT. I turn to the other guy in my department and ask, “Did you read that email. What in the hell are they talking about?” And we go from there….. Nice, right? :)

    Liked by 3 people

  10. This post was a little too math-y for me. I know you’re laughing, and I’m okay with that. I remember seeing this sorta thing before, time management by Covey, perhaps. I’m more inclined to use the “will it matter in …” principle before dedicating energy to it, but nothing comes before my kids, and virtually nothing comes before reading :)

    Liked by 3 people

    • Dan Antion says:

      As I mentioned to Sammy, it’s a good thing I followed the rules of SoCS or this would have been way more math-y. Nothing comes before family. I have too many hobbies to give any one a leg up on the rest, but it does make it hard to choose. Lately I’ve been shutting this laptop off early and going into bed so I can read. I have a pile of books to crawl through this year. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.

      Like

  11. I’m an over thinker. I analyze things to death. So, I don’t think it’s just a guy thing. And when it comes to editing something I wrote, I wear myself out before I finally post it, and can still find where I should have edited it some more.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dan Antion says:

      I am normally suffering from the same approach to editing Sandi. That’s one of the reasons I like the SoCS prompt. I edit some posts to the point of absurdity. Avoiding that is one of the things I’m working on. Thanks for the comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks, Dan. When I started writing and getting articles published, my husband and I went to a Writer’s Conference in Indiana. At that time I was still searching for my voice and was hung up on what I thought a writer should sound like. Max Lucado, have you heard of him? is a fantastic writer. He paints pictures with words. Reading his books have taught me a lot about living right and writing from the heart. But I still goof up in both areas. So, that’s my mini confession for today. Have a great week!

        Liked by 1 person

  12. yprior1 says:

    Dan – this post is so “you” – ha! and I believe that everyone has at least one good book in them (but non-writers need help to get theirs out) and then I think other people have more than one – and maybe that’s you – :)
    and I like the quote a lot
    “When the most you are willing to do is the least you can do, something is wrong.”
    and for me – this would be okay in some areas but not all. and I like your chart as a way to think and assess!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dan Antion says:

      Thanks. Yeah, I’m not sure about the quote. When I saw the prompt, that’s wat popped into my head and I can’t shake it loose. BTW, I keep losing track of your blog in the WP Reader. I’ve looked for a way to follow by email, but I’m either missing it or the option isn’t there. For now, I’ll be popping in when I’m reminded (like today).

      Liked by 1 person

      • yprior1 says:

        well thanks for saying that – and same here – you never come up in mine and well, I think I am going to bookmark yours. But I do wonder if the reader is having issues again – because I follow a good number of blogs – and I really follow them because I want to see their stuff – and a few times I have reached a stop and it says there are no more posts – but that I can look at fresh-ly-pressed. and well, maybe I need to do the email thing better.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Dan Antion says:

          Sometimes, my Reader gets overwhelmed by a few people that I follow who reblog others a lot. Also, I had a problem where I would see a post in the Reader that I knew I had read, and Liked, but the Reader would show it without the ‘like’ indication. Where I can, I choose to “follow this blog via email” option for those I don’t want to miss. I think it’s a setting you can check off somewhere, and I know that they have a widget. If you just do the setting, the option appears to people making comments.

          Liked by 1 person

          • yprior1 says:

            Oh Thanks so much dan – I am going to set mine hop now.
            And I did hear that if you get spam problems to remove the follow by email box – and then reinstall it to break some kinda link. hm
            I am going to check on it now.

            Like

          • yprior1 says:

            have you ever heard of some bloggers being restricted on leaving likes?

            Like

            • Dan Antion says:

              Just recently, Linda (provider of the prompt behind SoCs – http://lindaghill.com/) wrote about a person who was banned from liking or following blogs. It seems WP felt he was liking and following too quickly. I don’t understand the process but before I could look into it further, WP gave into a campaign to reinstate his like/follow rights.

              Liked by 1 person

            • yprior1 says:

              yeah, I read a bit of Linda’s advocating for OM – and heard some of it – and I also just noticed that Cee has not been leaving likes (think she was limited) and I think a few others were having their likes undone.

              Like

            • Dan Antion says:

              That’s ridiculous in a case of someone who is providing prompts. I really find the prompts to be useful jogs at times, and I enjoy meeting new people through participating. If I respond to your prompt, I think you should be able to like that just for the action.

              Liked by 1 person

            • yprior1 says:

              That’s a really good point – about those who host challenges and all that – and I know for me it is not working a lot the last month – so I thought it would not matter – but I miss being able to leave a hello with the like. I know the idea os to have us comment more – but I find I can’t force a comment – some posts do not want me to leave a like – but then some posts seem like a “like” is the perfect response – just perfect – and well – it is what it is – ha!
              ~
              and I am sure they have many reasons for doing what they do behind the scenes – many times when I think about the millions of blogs they have to monitor – I stand in awe of this tightly running ship. And I know there are things we do not see – and I try and roll with policies and changes – and respect the process

              Liked by 1 person

            • Dan Antion says:

              That’s true, they do have a lot to work with. I always worry that they are going to mess up the part that works for me. I am so grateful to meet so many good writers, poets and photographers and to be challenged to grow my writing. I want to be able to thank the people I appreciate, even if it’s a quick read and a ‘like’ because I thought it was good or it made me smile.

              Liked by 1 person

            • yprior1 says:

              Yeah, and also change is hard at first – even a good change 0 so it really takes experimenting – but there is a good feel with the “powers that be” and even with the OM case – I just think there is more to the picture.
              whew- anyhow,
              glad we were able to connect today – I also plan to come back later to overuse a few back posts – cos you know I enjoy your writing and I am so grateful to have crossed blog paths on Jill’s blog.
              peace

              Liked by 1 person

  13. LindaGHill says:

    I think your chart is great! Then again, I have a mind that leans toward the logical side when it comes to organization. :)

    Liked by 2 people

  14. yprior1 says:

    one more little comment – regarding the solution mindedness – I do think that most guys try to “solve” things – even those us women are problem solvers and all that – but when we were at my friend nest’s wedding, the priest that married than gave them three tips and one was to the guy – he said something like “you are going to want to solve things – but sometimes she just needs to feel and release and vent” – or something like that – I think he was jamaican and had an accent – but I realized how universal this is – for men to want to fix things – and while we do want solutions it takes a couple time to find their groove in the problem solving process – which I am sure you and your wife have done so well over the years!!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. yprior1 says:

    okay – last comment for this post – I promise – but wanted to share this cos of what we just chatted about

    http://fishofgold.net/2015/01/23/an-open-letter-to-wordpress/

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I will comment later on this post, but wanted to wish you best with the big storm coming up your way. I will return later.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. LadyPinkRose says:

    Dan, your wife would not be the only one who would tell you that you are over thinking this. I was laughing out loud. And WHY was I laughing out loud? Because you remind me of my husband who drives me bananas with his over analysis and his engineering logical, must have a plan, must have written something – everything written in order to do something. Me on the other hand, flies by the seat of my pants, just doing, figuring out as I go. And as I do my best with ALL I do, I don’t worry a fig if I am doing more or least. Too funny. Just am in stitches right now how different men are from that of women, in that area of THOUGHT. You men tend to drive us (women) NUTS! And I am sure the feeling is mutual. (smile!) Love, Amy

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Prajakta says:

    Excellent post Dan! And the graph made every bit of sense. How much can I actually follow it is a challenge as worldly priorities have a tendency to get in the way.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. segmation says:

    I don’t think you are overthinking. In fact I love the graph. Love your thought process Dan!

    Liked by 2 people

  20. John Hric says:

    Dan – you may or may not have over worked this. Still if the only thing comes of it is ‘engagement’ is on the banned word list then you have nailed this one. Please extend high fives to yourself and your daughter.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dan Antion says:

      Thanks John. That was a bit of an inside joke, as Brad Lewis had commented on Facebook about my using the phrase “back in the day” (now also banned). I hate “engage” in all of its various misapplied forms. I doubt that I will ever use it here again. Good to know that you’re in agreement.

      Like

  21. I’ve been told that I analyze too much and that I over think things. I say it is better to analyze than to go about my activities without thinking. I don’t make detailed charts to solve problems. I generally use a T chart for pro and cons. Although I am not in the business world, I do use a modified version of the RACI chart when planning events/events. I have a passion for putting events together and I take a keen interest (takes effort) in finding out people’s strength as I plan,
    I don’t have a whole lot of interest in exercise, unless I have a specific goal in mind, such as training to complete a half marathon. I’m working toward making it a part of my ADLs .
    I feel like I am rambling, so I’ll just stop now😄

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dan Antion says:

      Feel free to ramble any time here. How we solve problems is a personal thing (I think) perhaps even if we try to solve them. I’m not sure (now I’m rambling) Thanks for the comment. I also will list pros and cons as a way of working through an issue.

      Like

  22. I like the chart, Dan. I used to make complex a decision matrix before a major purchase. Yours is all together different, but i like it. Hugs.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Peter Nena says:

    I like where you say “I simply won’t read something that requires no effort”. I won’t either. Which makes reading newspapers out of my list. I merely scan them. If I drew the graph of Most vs Least, I think it’d be an inverse curve, similar to y=e^-x. It wouldn’t be a straight line because at the point where Most = 0, Least is not a definite number. Rather it will be tending towards infinity. Similar to when Least = 0. But I love your graph. It is creative and wonderful and it just jolted my brain that such a graph could exist. I even paused to think about it. It is great.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dan Antion says:

      Thanks Peter. It’s my nature to try and reduce the complex problems to simple / simpler solutions. Of course this doesn’t appeal to people who want to maintain distance between themselves and math :)

      Like

  24. Peter Nena says:

    Graphs and charts are wonderful simpler ways of conveying information. I also meant to say the curve would be asymptotic. I realized that in the equation I gave y = 1, when x = 0, which doesn’t truly define what I conceived of the Most vs. Least relationship.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Morguie says:

    Hmmm, I guess I tend to think like a guy, too. But I am a girly-girl, I assure you. I have the tendency to ponder, pore, mull, and over-analyze. Introspection is automatic. I think it is tied in with the awareness to subtleties of things.

    Liked by 2 people

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