August 2020

By aaron.axvig, 11 August, 2020

I few years ago I wrote this as part of some leadership training, specifically a program by Mel Nelson. The assignment was to write a personal portrait of (I think) how you function at work.

I have a personal portrait that centers on accuracy, finding facts, and making information-based decisions. Things like direct conflicts, rushed conversation, and failure to pragmatically evaluate problems will frustrate me.

Doing things accurately and precisely is important to me. I dislike it when people do just enough to solve the problem for now—a fix of the root issue is usually worth spending additional time to me. Naturally, other people may have a different view of the problem (customer-facing, therefore urgent, for example) and not agree with that sometimes. In such a case a great way to communicate that to me would be to ask for my time estimate and give feedback if that is outside your expectations.

Resolving conflicts with D or I type people is challenging to me. When people become emotional or aggressive while communicating with me I go into a defensive mode where I very carefully say only statements that I am certain are accurate and only say the minimum necessary to appease them and end the confrontation. Later, I will “catch up” and be able to competently debate the issue. Related to this, I often pause for several seconds to think before speaking. Some of the people I enjoy being around the most are those who wait for me to say what I am thinking about rather than taking it as an invitation to fill in the gap themselves.

So, in summary I like to work in non-surprising conditions with plenty of time to solve problems. Pressure applied in the wrong way may still motivate me or get results but will leave a lasting impression on me.

If I make the jump from work to personal and rigorously evaluate my fiancee (who I did not know at the time) against this writing, the labels "frustrating", "challenging to me", and NOT a "person I enjoy being around the most" would need to be applied.  Also I described a perfect comfort zone of "non-surprising conditions with plenty of time".  Everyone thinks they want some perfection like that but it can be a boring way to live life.  Opposites attract, variety is the spice of life, etc. and I think our life together is greatly interesting.

So I think this writing was some ideal of me but it is good that life is not ideal.


By aaron.axvig, 3 August, 2020

These stories and thoughts of the author's travels around the western US capture the experience of long-distance motorcycle riding in an incredibly great way.  I found myself nodding in agreement so often, having had many of the same thoughts, encounters, and feelings on my trips.

A lot of the writing is very good--so expressive, yet there are a few instances where some camp or amateurishness pokes through.  I guess many editors would fix that, but would it lose some authenticity in the process?  I think so, and I think overall the result is great.

There are philosophical sections, and the first thing that comes to mind when I heard motorcycles combined with philosophy is Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.  I recommend Freedom's Rush 100x more unless you are a philosophy major.  Long ramblings about Phaedrus are out and replaced with relatively simple wonderings and views inside the author's head.  That's all I need.  And the ratio of motorcycle to philosophy is much better too.

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