Positive deviance

Just finished Better by Atul Gawande. It was a fun read full of some really interesting anecdotes. One of the things Gawande talks about is this idea of positive deviance which basically recognizes that there are uncommon cases of success that can be attributed to certain behaviors. If we want to improve ourselves or our community we should look for those positive deviants and find out what makes them successful. And I use the term “successful” to mean really and type of positive outcome.

If we want to become positive deviants ourselves, we need to do something that no one else is doing, to try a different way of doing things. This reminds me of a quote attributed to Alexander Graham Bell (I did a project on him back in high school), “An inventor looks upon the world and is not contented with things as they are. He wants to improve whatever he sees, he wants to benefit the world; he is haunted by an idea.”

Growing up I always wanted to be an inventor, then I realized how impractical that was. Though I don’t think any of the great inventors grew up wanting to be inventors, they simply had the mindset that A.G.B. described above. And I believe that’s the case for many contemporary positive deviants; they aren’t satisfied with the status quo, they see an opportunity for change and they make that change. Anyone can be an inventor, anyone can be a positive deviant; what separates the idea from reality is often times effort and tenacity.

TIATF: My job, metabolism, technology

Listen, let me tell you a story…

…about two cousins that are often confused with each other. One of them was always the more popular, the other often forgotten or unknown. Yes as you may have guessed, I am talking about light and pigment.

You see, when people talk about the color wheel and the classic “primary colors”  they are usually referring to pigments and the subtractive color wheel, which has cyan, magenta, and yellow as its primary colors (although many learned it as red, yellow, blue, which is actually different, but that is out of the scope of this discussion).

The oft’ forgotten cousin is light and the additive color wheel which has the primary colors red, green, and blue.

Now what’s all this additive/ subtractive business about, we are talking colors not math! Well don’t you fret, there is no real math involved, but let’s break down what we mean:

Light is additive because the colors we perceive are combinations of red, green, and blue light. White light is the addition of all three. If you look really close at your TV or computer screen you will see that the picture is actually made of teeny tiny pixels that are either red, green, or blue. TVs – Light

Pigments are considered subtractive because their perceived color is a result of  removing other colors. Magenta pigments appear magenta because they absorb green light and reflect red and blue light. If you look at a magazine you will see that most of the printed images are made up of dots of cyan, magenta, and yellow and also black (a combination of all pigments). Printers – Pigment

For clarity’s sake, because I know this can get a bit confusing; in both cases, what you are actually perceiving is light, so in a sense pigments do utilize the additive color wheel. Pigments alter how light is perceived by absorbing certain wavelengths of light and reflecting others. That reflected light is the subject to the additive color wheel.


This post is what resulted from an interaction I had at work today. I had forgotten some of the details about light and pigments so thought I’d revisit it and try to flesh it out.


It makes all the difference. Gratitude is all about recognizing and acknowledging the good of what you have. I am going to try and be more grateful.

One of the blogs I follow posted this exercise that I thought might be worth trying out (I’ll post a link to it below). Basically it involves identifying one’s own privileges and grievances on two separate lists. One list goes up where you see it every day, the other in a place that you may see once a week or once a month or once a year; you choose which goes where.

I will also end each post listing 3 things I am grateful for, and hopefully I’ll be able to come up with 3 different things every day.


Things I am grateful for:

[I’ll start off with the gimmes]

My family, my friends, my health

Just another day

I volunteer in the NICU of my local hospital. When I went in to wash my hands before my shift there was an MD in there also washing up. She was facing the sink and didn’t look up as I came in. I removed my volunteer coat and placed it on the shelf leaving only my white undershirt. The doc then turns around and we exchange greetings. She then asks how my baby is doing. A little shocked I just stutter, “Oh… I… I’m a volun–”

“–Ah you’re a volunteer,” she said as if trying to finish my sentence, “My bad, you never know these days, parents are getting younger and younger…”

“Haha…yep…have a good day,” I say as she begins to walk out and she reciprocates.

At first this just got me thinking about life and about when I do hope to have kids of my own. Then I thought about what she said… younger and younger… what’s this lady talkin’ ’bout younger and younger. When she was little most adults were probably having kids in their early 20s… but maybe she thought I was in high school.

Anyways, when I’m holding the babies at the hospital it’s hard not to think about being a father. By no means am I in any rush at all, it’s just near impossible not to think about it with a tiny baby in your arms just staring at you.

It was also kind of awkward later that day because I was helping out a nurse by holding a baby during feeding and the baby’s parents came. They knew I was a volunteer, but I could feel the mom’s gaze tear into me as soon as she walked in. I am not allowed to move the baby myself and the nurse was in the medicine room getting some milk, so I just sat there with the mom watching as her daughter was sleeping the in the arms of a stranger. I wasn’t sure if I should wait for the nurse and risk getting my arms torn off or offer to hand the baby over. Luckily Mom had enough just decided to take her, and so I gladly handed her off. Mom didn’t acknowledge me, not so much as a thank you, as if I was some sort of android who holds crying babies then goes back to its dock in the supply closet. Of course, she has every right to her baby and to be protective of her, but lady I’m a flippin’ volunteer its not like your baby is going to imprint on me. But you know,


What we deserve

It’s interesting how it seems that those who think they deserve the most often deserve the least, and those who think they deserve the least often deserve the most. That’s not always the case, but in seems to be a trend and I think it has a lot to do with gratitude. That being said, who am I to say what another person deserves.

I, of course, think I deserve the least of anyone.


I want to be a bit more intentional with my choices and actions; to have a more purpose behind everything I do. There was a reddit post that got pretty popular in which one user talked about doing something, at least one thing everyday to get you closer to your goals. He referred to this as “No Zero-Days”. The whole post was about discipline and self-esteem if I recall correctly. Whether or not you have personal struggles with these types of things the post it worth a read.

Currently my go-to for avoiding a zero day is learning Spanish on Duolingo.

I chose the picture of the blocks because when I built it, as well as when I built the double bridge which was on an earlier post, I had to be very intentional about how, where, and even when I placed each block. There are no screws or glues, so I couldn’t force it to work, I had to think about how each block would contribute to the structure or not. (Though perhaps excluding the twist on the top from this discussion)

Clicking and Scrolling

Regarding my last post, I’ve been thinking about my phone use a lot lately. Most of the time I am just clicking and scrolling on my phone for the sake of doing something with my fingers. It’s become so automatic now that I often don’t even realize I’ve opened an app until I see the pictures and headlines flash in front of my eyes.

I’ve started deleting the most blatant culprits of useless finger diddle, though now I see more obviously my fingers just aimlessly swiping back and forth between my menus looking for something to click. Once I notice I try to put it down.


I don’t really have a direction for what I’m going to write about today, but I think I will try to write something everyday. I want to challenge myself to commit to doing things. It’s easy to commit to my job or to my classes and whatnot because they have direct consequences/ rewards (ol’ operant conditioning rearing its ugly head). Doing something like this or exercising regularly or practicing a skill all have no clear or tangible consequence, at least for the examples I’ve been thinking of.

This makes me think of a TED talk I watched recently, I think it was about addiction or procrastination, can’t quite remember. One of the speakers main point was to get curious about your own problems, to ask yourself, “Why am I doing [insert bad habit]?” I guess this relates to the above in that I often find myself avoiding doing the things I big-picturely want to be doing or ought to be doing by doing things that offer more immediate/ tangible outcomes.


Trying this out again, this time on a different platform. Though I’m not writing for anyone in particular; I’m just trying to create an outlet for myself to just let my mind flow.

It’s nice to release the pressure valve you know? Not because I think I’m a genius and I have a bazillion amazing ideas bouncing around in my head all the time, but because there are some ideas I have during the day that I would like to revisit and hopefully this will help de-clutter my mind and filter out all the shitty ideas (assuming not all of them are).

But I guess this is also away for me to talk to myself; to get idea out of my head to I can read them out loud and/ or at another time in a different state of mind. Now that I think of it I should really go back and read some of my old essay assignments for my classes and see how my writing holds up.

That’s it for now, I wanna try to keep each post relatively short so I don’t bore future self and long posts are bitch to proofread.