Daily Blog #9: Plan of Attack

Photo courtesy of Delfi dela Rue

My lower teeth were getting crooked. And as I make a living from my commercial smile, I bit the bullet and got Invisalign. I sat in the dentist’s chair and had my teeth smushed into trays of pastey awfulness to create a mold. Good news! My crowding wasn’t too bad. I would only need 5 sets of trays. Each I was supposed to wear for two weeks. For 22 hours a day.

Wait?

When do I eat?! The dentist smiled tightly. I knew from that smile that my life would be slightly altered. Things I took for granted, like a mouth that didn’t ache, and long afternoons savoring a bowl of almonds and a chai tea latte, were on hiatus.

She explained how I couldn’t skip any trays, that each one would work on a specific part of my mouth to prepare it for the next tray. The culmination of the trays would produce the desired alignment. I couldn’t jam my teeth into one set of trays for three months and expect results because of brute force. No, it was a process, created by an algorithm that analyzed my teeth and then created a unique, sequential set of adjustments.

It was a planned, orchestrated attack.

It made perfect sense to me.

And then it made me sad.

Why can’t we have an algorithm that does that for our lives? For our goals? We know where we are starting from, the state of our career. And we know where we want to end up. But so often, the steps to get us there are not clear. We certainly are not provided a map.

What if that algorithm could dig into our social media feeds and our contact lists? What if it could then analyze our special skills and talent? And then (running it’s algorithmic magic), devise a brilliant instruction manual that takes us step by step to achieve our goal. The plan demistifies the process of landing the series, selling the pilot, funding the start up, insert your goal ‘here’. A certain ‘step’ may not seem apparent, but like a chess match (I don’t play but the analogy feels right), a strange move can serve the long term strategy.

It’s hard to think in small, strategic steps because the media celebrates the success stories. (Especially the overnight ones!) But intellectually, we know how much work achieving lofty goals takes. It’s just that sometimes we don’t know the right work we should be doing.

Google… do you hear me? I know you’re consuming all that I write to become a better A.I.. Do you wanna give us all hand here… use your predictive data magic to give us some guidance in this digital age of instability and change? That would be cool.

A little food for thought for today. (Even if I can’t have any… )

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