Alfred Sergel IV


half step away

Sometimes when I travel for work, I stay at a person's home rather than a hotel. It's a nice change of pace but as much as it has it's perks, it also has it's quirks.

Recently, I was staying a beautiful home. I had my own room and my own bathroom.  The first time I went to take a shower, I couldn't get the water warmer than about 75 degrees.  It's the type of water temperature that still has a little chill in it. I was already in a colder climate than I am used to, so the thought of a hot shower was exciting.  Having to take a cold shower irritated me a little bit only because I could have stayed at a hotel.

The last morning of my trip, I got up to take my shower and was reminded of a similar situation years back when I was staying at a home in England.  The owner of this old English house had told me that the temperature gauge was slightly off and that in order to get really hot water, I needed to set the temperature gauge slightly under the "H". Standing outside of the shower waiting for the water to warm up (again), I thought to my self "why not give that a try?".

Sure enough...I pulled the temperature gauge back slightly from being set directly on the "H" and the water got steaming hot.

In the jazz community they often say "you're only a 1/2 step away from a right note". 

My personality is prone to lock in on "THE" way something is "supposed" to be done…or, at the very least - in my opinion - how something is "supposed" to work.  It's a blind spot that - in this particular case - had me take 3 cold showers.

All I needed to do was move the gauge less than a 1/2 inch from the HOT setting and I had hot water. 

Being focused…
Being disciplined…
These are great qualities to have. However, they both have an inherent narrowness that can be limiting to not only seeing possibility, but being creative…and in this case, taking a hot shower.

Lesson learned (I hope).