“Never Underestimate…” Revisited

One of my daughters just surprised me by showing up dressed for bed — underbits, bound hair, PJ bottoms and top buttoned up. It surprised me because I was headed in to dress her. At first I figured her mother must have dressed her for me. But nope, she had done it alone and wanted to show me.

If she was 17 the only odd part would be that I felt the need to dress her in the first place. But she’s 2. Two. And all her buttons? And her hair? Kids these days…

It reminds me not to underestimate what can be accomplished when motivation is intrinsic to the doer. The skill might be marksmanship, programming, aesthetic design, buttons and hair or whatever; the capacity for a person to demonstrate extraordinary ability in an area they can bring themselves to focus intently on should never be underestimated, regardless their assumed level of competence. Consider the proto-Israelis in 1947, Japanese chip makers in the 1970’s, me writing rainbow box emulators in 1989, Chinese component makers in the 2000’s, and my daughter in 2013. None of these things seem odd when referenced lightly, but all are quite extraordinary when remembered in the context of their time.

The number of daily, unheralded, extraordinary private achievements must be mind boggling.

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