Evil wizards are so paranoid!  We were trying to sneak into his library and steal the Philosopher’s Stone, but did he have to put a sticking spell on his magic book?  Since we couldn’t move the magic book, we had to translate his evil spell by going back and forth and trying to remember the symbols. Usually, we would have had a scroll to copy the characters, but our apprentice had left it back at our castle.  What would have been an easy task with the right tools had become a significant endeavor.  While we have retrieved magical items from some of the worst evildoers, no one wants to be caught stealing by an evil wizard.  And as time ticked on, our ability to focus and communicate the shapes to each other was becoming less and less effective.  In the end, we could translate enough of the spell to conjure the stone and end another reign of terror.

As we become experts in our fields and in performing our day-to-day activities, we become efficient and effective (and reliant) on our tools.  Some things make us the most productive, whether it’s that one software program, our favorite keyboard, the arrangement of apps on our desktop, or the quiet time each morning.  Even little changes in these routines and tools can turn small projects into large projects.  While most of the time, we can control the circumstances and environment around us, we can’t always control those timelines, team members, or changes thrown at us.  These changes cause stress, increased difficulty focusing, loss of productivity and effectiveness, and even frustration and anger.  What may be minor issues are taken out on our teammates and become potentially insurmountable problems.

Because of this, we need to add resilience and adaptability to our toolboxes.  And we need always to be adding alternative tools to address tasks when our primary means either won’t work or become less effective.  In the case of translating spells, we need to have a plan for describing shapes to each other in a way we both understand.  So, when those forgetful apprentices forget the right tools, we can still get the job done.

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