Wednesday, 23 September 2020

A Small Change Can Lead To A Big Difference.

In an age where speed is becoming a big part of the process (especially on the internet), Is a marathon always the right way forward or can you reach the solution by taking the obvious (instinctive) route? 

Here's a picture of a portion of the front panel of a Moog Voyager synthesizer :-

Turn, tweak & press your way to sonic heaven. 

It's actually my Voyager, and I've recently taken it out of storage for a project. 

The reason it's here, is to illustrate a simple yet important point. 

All the knobs and switches on the front panel serve a purpose; their function being to help the user sculpt & shape the sound of the instrument in real time. The results heard will be immediately recognisable as an audible change, be it loudness or timbral (tonal) characteristics.

On other occasions, you have to combine changes in order to hear the actual effect of those changes manifested as a sonic difference; the sum of the changes combines to alter (and affect) the whole.

And with such an instrument, sometimes the smallest change in one setting on a knob or switch position, can lead to a big difference in the sound. Furthermore, it might not be the programmed change you intended to make, but the results can still be usable and enjoyable. 

Of course, you can be stuck on why a particular change of parameters isn't quite making the sonic change ( or modulation) you hoped for, and then suddenly the change happens due to an inspired ( or accidental ) choice of settings and changes you wouldn't have thought about earlier on during that session with the instrument. It could be in a flash of a second, a minute, an hour, day or sometimes (depending upon your memory and patience / diligence), that month or year, when the eureka moment happens.  

I can say this with a pinch of confidence because I've been through the aforementioned process numerous times. This applies even after you know the lay of the land and the paradigm(s) of the particular instrument or situation you're working with.

In a way, that's like life.

You can find yourself being stuck in a series of frustrating and unrewarding scenarios / challenges for a long time, with no obvious window of opportunity for noticeable change(s) that will lead to bona-fide results. Even walking away from the situation and coming back to it after a short break numerous times, doesn't necessarily solve the problem(s) you wanted solving; either effectively or even at all. 

Then one day, it just clicks (or fits) together and you've hit the sweetspot. The rest is plain sailing. 

 What happened? 

You looked at the situation with a fresh pair of eyes (and ears). Within seconds ( or minutes), you've solved the problem and 'uncovered the mosaic'..job done! It's that simple. 

Or is it? 

There is no absolute logic behind this ( there are NLP based constructs that can explain some of this, but that's for another time) , but subconsciously you've managed to re-frame the paradigm / construct after multiple attempts without even trying to solve the original problem, and you've come up with a solution. It's almost like an act of divine intervention or a flash of luck, nudged you towards the finishing line. 

To emphasise further, I'll elaborate on another situation I encountered recently. It involves a problem with the wireless router in my house. 

For a long time, I found it occasionally frustrating that the service-provider supplied router wasn't up to snuff in terms of providing consistently workable coverage over the entire property. A few days ago, whilst looking for a more powerful third party product on the internet, I started looking at longer RJ45 cables, as to increase the distance from the telecommunications (or comms) socket which would allow me to reposition the router in to a better area for broadband reception. 

And it was that train of thought which lead me to realise that perhaps all I needed to do was to re position the router a metre or so away from where it was now. 

 I'd realised that it was too close to three adjacent walls, which may have been bouncing the signal around, weakening it in the process. How about using a power socket extension lead, which i have many of, in order to do this instead? 

Problem solved; it worked like a dream.

The increase in open space allowed it to 'breathe' easier and you can now receive a strong WiFi signal anywhere in the house.  It even allows you to roam outside and use the internet from the same signal. 

It's with a dollop of embarrassment that I recount this as :-

a) the power extension lead used, was lying around a metre to the left of my chair in the home office. It'd been there for years, just waiting to be used. 


b) the solution was so obvious I'm perplexed as to why I didn't do this a long time ago, or even to begin with. 

The only answer I can come up with, is that it was too obvious a solution to a problem I never thought I'd encounter. Hence there was a near total dismissal of both the the solution and the obviousness of it. This negated taking the fastest way forward, and the path of least resistance was sadly left ignored. 

Sometimes the most obvious thing is ignored because it's too easy to do. Depending on how you're wired mentally, the prospect of a lack of challenge in the situation can temporarily close down (or short out) your mental circuitry, so you rule out the quicker fix entirely.

Whilst that can have its uses in order to help build upon and improve a skill set in the real world (e.g. from an athlete testing their own limits, to an musician or businessperson cross analysing various workflows and methodologies), it can be an impediment when solving smaller, yet important problems in a process which involves other systems. It can even bring an entire chain of processes to a halt, with loss of time, energy, money and reputation.

Ergo, if it''s obvious, then it's obviously the right thing to do. It's that simple. 

In the meantime, there are other things I've got on the 'to do list' , which have been pending resolution for a while. Like finishing this article.

I won't say how long it took between starting and finishing it (let's say it was started with a different laptop and leave it there), but I swear on all I hold sacred that :

a) I never intended to finish it right now. I was working on something else entirely, and it caught my eye, whilst checking something else on the site.

b) it's serendipitous that this article has ended up being completed following everything that I've talked about above.

In essence, I was allowed to step away and step back in, to complete it, without even thinking about completing it. 

As already mentioned, that's how life works. Perhaps more than we realise.

In a world where we're routinely bombarded with information that goes beyond what we need and want, we have to be more selective as to how many ways we can absorb and imbue everything we see, hear and do with this information. Otherwise everything becomes a 'work in progress'. Too much unfinished business doesn't help with keeping your books balanced, either physically, mentally or  spiritually. 

Time out. Otherwise i'll end up over-revving the engine of creativity.  Best keep some fuel for later. 

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