Three Ways to Look at Things

I just made it home from a FIRST Robotics Competition in Pittsburgh, PA. My team, just like thousands of other teams around the world, has been working around the clock for six weeks to complete this robot for competition. As soon as Bag Day came, we began to prepare for competition.

I’m going to be frank with you–we didn’t do so hot.

We approached the challenge with full force, ready and prepared to complete another stellar robot. We had very little time to practice with the second, practice robot we built, but we did administer a test to see who was prepared for driving. A few had the brief opportunity to hone their skills for Pittsburgh.

And I don’t know what it was, but we just didn’t do so hot.

Actually, no. That’s a lie. I know what it was. There were many, many things that “was” that made our rankings sink.

All of these can be summarized as places for improvement.

One of the greatest things about FIRST is that it’s not entirely about the robots. While these challenges prepare thousands of students for careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), when we return from competition each year, we see how we can improve.

These improvements are always vast and somewhat exciting, to know that you can recognize a loose nut and know how to tighten it down properly. (There’s a little mechanical-y reference for ya.)

And it was at this competition, when our robot ranked next to last, that I realized there are two ways of looking at things.

The first way to look at some negative situations is “Ugggghhh”. This is the tendency to place blame on everything around you rather than look to yourself for an issue. This is the down-in-the-dumps, negative attitude that doesn’t leave any room for growing.

The second way to look at some negative situations is, “Look how much we can learn from this!” This is the tendency to try and see things how they are–to look at each aspect contributing to the situation, and figure out a way to grow.

And finally, there’s also a third way of looking at some negative situations, courtesy of one of the most fun and interesting members we have. This would be, “YAYY!” (Though the majority of people probably don’t take on this mindset in such situations.)

I don’t know about you guys, but I like growing. I like getting an inch taller so I can laugh at my munchkin little guy friends. I like my hair getting longer, knowing that nearly six years of just trimming is paying off. So, as long as my body is getting taller, and my hair is growing longer, why not widen the scope of my mind? Learn to problem solve? Face problems instead of run from them?

This is all I have to say on the matter at this time. I am now leaving a pun-tastic joke for you, dear reader, at the bottom of this post.

Our team, “Biohazard”, was fortunate enough to have some really great spirit items produced this year. We have unique tie-dye t-shirts, beautiful hand crafted signs, and bandannas with our symbol painted on. I, being my awkward self, couldn’t figure out a way to wear the gorgeous bandanna without covering up most of the symbol. I finally settled on threading a ribbon through and turning it into an awkwardly small cape. The next day, unsure of what I wanted to do with it, I turned to my friend and said, “I need to figure out this thing’s capabilities.”

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