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  • Tom Birchard

It Can't Be That Difficult...

1 for 9 passing for 13 yards with 2 interceptions, no touchdowns. Those that are football fans, especially NFL, might recognize that stat line for Kendall Hinton playing quarterback for the Denver Broncos against the highly ranked New Orleans Saints defense a couple weeks ago. For those unfamiliar, the Broncos had to place all their quarterbacks in COVID-19 quarantine and called upon Hinton, an undrafted free agent wide receiver out of Wake Forest, to lead them that game. Now Hinton was no stranger to the quarterback position. He was a starting quarterback in high school leading his team to a state championship as a junior, and even had some limited action at quarterback in college.[1] Clearly that experience didn’t prepare him well to come in and succeed as an NFL quarterback on short notice.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been delusional enough to think I could compete with professional athletes of any kind, but if that thought ever crept in then seeing something like this should clear that up pretty quickly. Here’s an elite athlete with experience playing the quarterback position who could only complete one single pass over the course of a 60 minute game. Knocking down an uncontested free throw in an NBA game is probably as far as I can dream now haha.

Joking aside, I think there’s a lesson to be learned here. How often have you looked at someone else be it a coworker, an entertainer, a politician, a service worker, a boss, or even a friend, and thought you could do whatever they are doing better than them? You might think “it can’t be that difficult” without having first-hand experience doing whatever it is they are doing, and certainly not from the perspective of living in their shoes. I think this ties back to a previous post on empathy. Who are some people you look at and naively think they have it easy or you could do their job better than them? Playing quarterback in the NFL is certainly an extreme example, but I’m going to try and do a better job of not overestimating my own abilities or underestimating the difficulty of what somebody else is doing.

Recommendations from last two weeks:

· Article - We're Never Going Back by Packy McCormick – There’s certainly no shortage of articles speculating about the future of remote work but I found this one to be particularly well done and thought provoking. One of the primary points made is that ultimately employees will choose rather than companies.

· Podcast Episode - The Price of Distraction on Making Sense by Sam Harris – Sam Harris has a lot of good material and one of my employees recommended this episode and it didn’t disappoint. There’s no doubt technology is changing us and this episode does a good job of explaining some of the causes and effects as well as some common-sense recommendations to create a healthy separation.

· Podcast Episode - The Last Mile to the Last Inch by Dr. Michael Osterholm – I’m sure most of you have found your source of COVID-19 news by now, or are choosing to tune it out as best you can. You could certainly do worse than The Osterholm Update which releases an episode weekly. In this episode Dr. Osterholm makes what I think is a critical point around the 39 minute mark about how the vaccines could quickly, and unfairly, lose credibility and some of the negative outcomes that could result from this bad press. I won’t try and summarize it since he does such a good job but if you’re interested I suggest tuning in.

· Short Video - The Art of Living with Less Stress by Derek Sivers – This is an excerpt from an interview Tim Ferriss did with Derek Sivers and is just a fun 6 minute video with an important insight.

· QuoteThe test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function. by F. Scott Fitzgerald


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