The Bluejeans I am referring to is the video conferencing system bluejeans.com — not the iconic clothing invented by Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis in 1873. The quirk itself is not important, only to say that it had been annoying me for a very very long time. It involved screen sharing in which bluejeans kept showing the wrong screen from the one I picked. This would result in a bit of fluster in my otherwise smooth presentation as I tried to work out how to jumble around to get the correct screen to show. I devised a workaround — select the screen it thinks is my main presentation screen. Good enough for now, but the problem still plagued my mind. I needed to understand why it was functioning like this, I wanted to apply a permanent fix.
It’s early one morning, I am in my kitchen making coffee. Just as I am pouring the water into my cup it comes to me — a little crystal cell in my brain just lit up. I get it, I understand why this quirk was happening.
Now, I had not been thinking about bluejeans at all that morning, but obviously my subconscious had been working overnight, and in the clear space of meditative coffee making — my brain was able to compute a why.
Like the quirk itself, the answer is not important to my story. What is important is how I felt after I finally understood why this was happening. No longer confused, no longer with a question on repeat inside my brain; I felt calm, relieved, potentially some endorphins were released, maybe even some other feel good neurotransmitters.
This was the epiphany —understanding WHY gave me a pathway to peace.
Suddenly I was no longer angry at Bluejeans, I was no longer frustrated by my computer, stressed at the thought of my next online presentation and if this quirk would still be plaguing me. Rather I felt at peace with my technology, confident I knew what I was doing — and now that I knew why — I was quite happy to continue with the status quo of my workaround.
The epiphany of discovering how this made me feel and made me react afterwards — was delightful.
I first came across the concept of ‘Why’ through Simon Sinek and his The Power Of WHY.
“It’s not what you do that matters, it’s why you do it. […] Once you discover your WHY, you are better able to align your beliefs with every choice and action you take, in order to find greater fulfillment in all that you do.” …Simon Sinek
This little idea has far reaching impacts. Organisations have embraced Sinek’s message to transform cultures, build empathic leaders, grow inspiring and healthy work environments. They also use this concept to grow to shape their product and business models.
In my case of my bluejeans quirk, I had to work backwards to WHY. I knew WHAT was happening; I found the pattern of HOW and then I was able to work out WHY it was happening.
The desire to find how and why is a nature part of human behaviour and how our brains love to work. Humans constantly seek to make sense of the world, to find answers, to explain the unexplained, to find patterns. Pattern recognition is crucial to the survival of humans. An article in Cognition Today describes why humans evolved pattern recognition abilities.
“Evolution necessitates economical and reliable brain mechanisms in some environmental contexts. These mechanisms emerge as a response to patterns in the environment or enable us to refine our ability to spot them. Pattern recognition skills sit at the helm of our basic cognitive architecture. Why? How? Now what? A common problem during hunting is to estimate how many predators there are — based on cues like animal sounds, footprints, etc. Say a pack of 4 hunters is trying to isolate a prey for food. The hunters can only survive if they have the physical capability to defend themselves and successfully kill or escape. If they do not have the ability, they will die. The ones who survive must have had the ability to recognize patterns, identify cues, and take action.” …Aditya Shukla, Cognition Today
Pattern recognition is not only crucial to humans but to the other animals as well. This is logical for survival responses, such as recognising what food is safe to eat, recognising danger, getting away fast, and for carnivores recognising prey and catching it. In humans as our brains evolved higher functions and cognitive expansion — the desire to find meaning and answers in all that we experience remained fundamental and instinctive.
I’ve digressed slightly from the original epiphany, which is something I love about epiphanies; they lead you around even more corners of discovery. Coming back to this particular one — the feeling of peace in understanding why. For me it makes me think about how conflict and unease; confusion and distrust; feeling out of control could be quelled by seeking to understand the why. And that, simply makes for a nicer day living here in paradise.
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For Curiosity: Why A Blue Circle? Because it is the opposite of Gold.
The colour gold is cousin to the colour yellow and the colour brown, and is also associated with illumination, love, compassion, courage, passion, magic, and wisdom. Gold’s complementary color (which sits directly opposite it on a color wheel) is blue. Blue is a primary color across all models of colour space. It often symbolizes serenity, stability, inspiration, or wisdom. It can be a calming color, and symbolize reliability.