Monday, November 14, 2011

Slippery Slopes

I was telling the boys about Steve Jobs' obsession with every aspect of his products - including the interiors which no customer got to see. It told them that while such extremes as making the inside of a computer look good might be considered excessive, they helped avoid "slippery slopes". They boys, to my surprise, were familiar with the expression. Once you let the inside of the computer be ugly, then maybe the part behind the cover could also be ugly. And at that point, maybe the bottom, which you rarely see, could be crapy as well... And before you know it, as Steve would put it, the product is shit!

We spoke about other slippery slopes: maybe it is not such a big deal if I don't do all my homework today or study all the material for tomorrow's exam... Maybe it is not a big deal if I eat two donuts for breakfast... Or, if I skip swim practice today... Or, break the law in some "tiny" way... But you do end up on a slippery slope and humans are not very good at defying gravity. Better to keep things Black and White. Stay on the solid and flat surfaces.

I gave the boys an example that worked for me: I used to have a hard time working out regularly and efficiently. Swimming almost worked, but I would frequently stop after half the time or skip a workout altogether. Until I joined a Masters team that trains three times per week. I decided that I would not miss a single practice. Period. Some days I don't feel like going, other days it is cold. But I know that the moment I start missing some of the practices I'll be on a slippery slope.

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