Posted by: Judy | July 16, 2018

Efficiency Falacy

I was raised to believe that everything can be done better and faster, which meant smarter. Efficiency became a form of tyranny.

Nothing I did was exempt from careful inspection, being picked apart, analyzed, and a plan instigated to improve my shortcoming. I could do something perfectly, and I could receive a critique on how I could have done it more perfectly by doing it faster.

My most memorable rebellion occurred only a few years ago. It’s memorable because I succeeded in silencing the insanity.

There’s a door to the basement. Sometimes it’s open, and sometimes it’s closed. When small children are in the house, it’s understood the door is to remain closed. Growing up, I was repeatedly chastised for not closing the door. Sometimes, I remembered; sometimes, I didn’t. I was never praised for closing the door. For the past decade or two, it’s been less of an issue. Sometimes I was criticized; sometimes, I wasn’t. It depended on how controlling Mother needed to be at the moment. The sad part is that the whole thing was about control. Note of importance: I’m not the only one who leaves the door open. I’m the one who had to be controlled.

A few years of counseling, with my last counselor, taught me a great deal I needed to learn; things I should have learned growing up. Better late than never.

Mother was in one of her need to control everything cycles and recited the oft heard words: “What can we do to make sure you never forget to _______ again?” In this case, it was ‘close the door.’

This question always terrified me. No matter what I answered she would always have a better idea. I was wrong. No matter what.

Thanks to what I’d learned, I thought before I answered. Abusers push for an answer, right now, this minute, hurry up. They never give you time to think because you might figure out that their question/demand is unreasonable.

Why did that tactic fail this time? My counselor had taught me that a gun wasn’t being held to my head. Really. That was his go-to tactic when I wanted to say “I have to…” He’d look at one side of my head and then the other. “I don’t see a gun being held to your head.” I had to own my choices. A child is in a different position, but I was an adult. I accepted the lesson.

I didn’t rise to the bait to be angry and replied, “I’ll do it perfectly when you do it perfectly.” I stated the truth. It was never brought up again.

Unfortunately, the battering continues to live in my psyche. I’m always looking for ways to do things better, faster, smarter.

God decided it was time to unlearn that bit of insanity. Blessedly, He chose a relatively painless, if frustrating, path. It took me two tries for it to take.

Taking my check to deposit, I figured it would be faster, ergo better and smarter, to take out my driver’s license ahead of time. I arrived at the bank only to realize I couldn’t find my license. I had to go home and look for my license. This happened twice. The first time, my dad found it between the console and driver’s seat. The second time, I found it on the floor in my room. Lesson learned. Leave it in my wallet until I arrive. Yes, it takes a few seconds more to take it out of my wallet, but I know where it is. It’s less stressful than misplacing it. That’s better and smarter and, in the long run, faster.

I still wonder if I can do some things more efficiently, but I endeavor to consider whether it’s worth the time and effort to figure it out. Live and learn.


Responses

  1. Great post! Your words are wise and your openness drives the point home!!

    • Thanks. 🙂

  2. Bravo for taking control! That is the key to healing, taking personal control of our thoughts and actions. I look at it as riding a bicycle and coming to a cross roads of having to choose to go to the left or right. The left is the same old scared person being intimidated, when I look down that road it looks dark and spooky, but going to the right is the new, fearless adult and when I look down that road, I see myself riding in the sunshine, whistling and feeling happy.

    It takes PRACTICE to want to go to the right, but when we respond in such a way that the person wanting control can see the “game is over,” they back off. THERE is our victory. A few victories like that and we NEVER go back to our old self. INSTEAD we keep envisioning the road to the RIGHT and how GOOD IT FEELS to ride happily along. Keep feeling CONFIDENT!

    A little wordy, but I hope you get my point. When you have these control encounters, YOU choose which way you go on the bicycle – it works!

    • Exactly.


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