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Day 5: Accept

Level 18

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or "Perfect is the enemy of good, part 1"

Last year I talked about the idea of "accepting" in IT and it is our unwillingness to accept status quo that drove us into this profession in the first place. This year, I want to suggest that sometimes, we DO need to learn to accept a solution or situation that is sub-optimal.

As the alternate title of this essay implies, if we are unwilling to accept an imperfect (but functional) solution, we may get caught up burning cycles in persuit of a perfection that doesn't actually exist.

Why? Because by NOT releasing the solution now, and exposing to real-world use, you overlook valuable road test data that could affect the functionality that stands between "good" and "perfect". You end up creating the perfect solution in a vacuum, potentially building functionality that won't serve the actual implementation when it gets out into the world.

(this is equally true when "out in the world" is user acceptance testing, or code review, or just pushing back to the repository. I've seen designers hold off even on those steps because they were concerned their piece "just isn't ready yet")

This is equally true for less hard-coded aspects of the IT Professional's experience. Such as team dynamics or even our current job.

Insisting on our vision of perfection - whether that's a team that operates like the engineering deck in Star Trek or a work environment that allows bring-your-iquana-to-work and no-pants-tuesdays - may blind us to the perfectly acceptable (albeit sub-optimal) situation we are in today. Yes, George in the next cube over talks too loud and eats microwaved pastrami for lunch. And sure, the company has never seriously considered the idea of telecommuting.

But those points may mask a team that hits 90% of it's targets on time; or a company that really promotes personal growth.

The quest for perfection may blind us to accepting a situation which is good enough that we're able to grow, to strive, and to achieve.

EDIT: Corrected "pursuit". HT to rschroeder​ for the eagle-eyed editorial job.

67 Comments
Level 13

One great example of this in the real world that still lives on is Ethernet.  There were and still are other network topologies that offer higher throughput, are deterministic (if you need that), have larger packet sizes, etc, but because it is a compromise (and a good one) at the end of the day Ethernet is basically the last man standing in the networking world.  Solutions were found for the shortcomings and added later, but if you go back and read the original spec it hasn't changed all that much.  It wasn't necessarily the best, but it was good enough.

Level 14

The war between Betamax and VHS was another good example of this. It didn't matter which was better, VHS won and that was all there was to it.

Level 11

In Cyber Security we also talk about accepting risk.  As the cyber-guy, it is often my job to say no risk but often a consideration is cost.  To mitigate the risk entirely may be cost prohibitive so we do what we can to reduce the risk as much as possible with the tools and techniques onhand. and accept the risk that is too difficult/expensive to eliminate completely.

Level 9

The ability to "accept" results that are not perfect in the Security realm is hard to do at times but vital.  This is especially true when one is new to an organization and sees current holes in security.  One must make progress to fix the holes that exist but be wary not to try to do it all at once.  One must make a multi-phase approach where there is a clear roadmap to a final solution.  While on the path, it is ok to "accept" certain risks as long as the exposure is not vital to the company.  This was a hard lesson that took some time to realize.

Today’s word is “Accept”

Verb:  to take or receive (something offered)

My wife accepted my hand in marriage.  I accept that sometimes it might actually BE the network. 

But mostly it’s the app or the database or the SysAdmin forgetting to turn off Windows Firewall, or even backhoe fade, or power—or even rodents! 

I had a hard time accepting that last one when the WAN provider offered it as an explanation for continual WAN outages in a rural Minnesota area . . .

Michael J. Fox is credited with saying:  "My happiness grows in direct proportion to my acceptance, and in inverse proportion to my expectations."

Level 11

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Level 14

Accept who is different

Accept who is the same,

Love one another

Regardless of name.

Level 11

accept

to take or receive (something offered); receive with approval or favor:

Level 10

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Level 10

My most recent example of accepting is when corporate IT demands that local IT fix an issue with the firewall...then not allow local IT access to the cloud or relays that are necessary to fix the firewall.  *facepalm*

Level 13

"Once we accept our limits, we go beyond them." Albert Einstein

again my earlier post says being moderated.   I don't get it, is something wrong with Thwack?   am i being monitored for something?  

MVP
MVP

I accept that change is a constant in the world of IT.

Level 13

Cycle of Acceptance - Tool/Concept/Definition

The cycle of acceptance helps us grow, learn, adapt and outperform our limitations.

In a spiral lifecycle development scenario you have to start out accepting that your first deliverable is not perfect. It is not intended to be. The idea is to do rapid prototyping, get it out in front of your customer, and then continuously tweak and build on the requirements as they are discovered. As was discussed in previous Words of the Days this year, sometimes our customers don't understand what they want or need. They have not acquired an in-depth knowledge on the subject. So accepting that the SOW will not be perfect is why we have change orders, right? By rapidly deploying new versions in the early phases, you can gather more requirements as both you and your customers learn. Perfect situational awareness is not possible, especially when there are so many initial conditions that are unknown. Trying to obtain it yields analysis paralysis and no action.

Accept imperfections both known and unknown.

Level 11

Level 21

You need to be willing to Accept solutions proposed by others.  One of the unfortunate downsides of this industry is it often attracts people with egos.  When proposing ideas it's important to not have an emotional attachment to that idea so you can be open and accepting of potentially better ideas proposed by others.  Remember if we are accepting of the ideas of each-other we are much stronger as a team than as individuals.

Level 9

I have always felt that the Serenity prayer has helped me in combat, college, marriage, parenthood, recovery, and has brought me peace to so many other situations.

"G-d grant me the serenity

to accept the things I cannot change;

courage to change the things I can;

and wisdom to know the difference."

It is not just so addicts and alcoholics can make it another day without using. When applied to my life it puts things in perspective and reminds me that I am not the center of the universe. It can be tough deciding on when acceptance is the best course to take.

"Challenge Accepted!"

That was one of my former co-workers response to any challenge  or task.  He said it with a smile and tackled the task with exuberance.  He was a joyful man and a successful man.

There is a difference in "accepting our lot in life" and "challenge accepted!"

We have all heard the old adage "If Life gives you lemons make lemonade."  But do we live it or do we just eat the lemons with a pained puckered face.

Olympic Runner Eric Liddell later found himself in an internment camp..  While many of his peers responded with selfishness and formed cliques (or gangs) to survive, Liddell taught the children and organized games to keep their minds occupied during one of the worst human experiences.  Liddell did not do like his peers and just accept what life had dealt him, he accepted the challenge of making life better for others in that circumstance.

Regardless of where you are in your life, in your job, or what task lies before you...Accept the Challenge.

Learn something new to gain the skill to overcome it.

Gain a new perspective and think out of the box.

Make life better for others.

Don't just accept your lot in life...Accept the Challenge!

Level 12

“IT happened. There is no avoiding it, no forgetting. No running away, or flying, or burying, or hiding.”

Laurie Halse Anderson, Speak

Level 9

Accept.  Discretion is the better part of valor.

MVP
MVP

God grant me the serenity

to accept the things I cannot change;

courage to change the things I can;

and wisdom to know the difference,

MVP
MVP

We all have the accept the fact that we do not know everything, so ask for help.

Level 12

Always create change, everything passes thus.  Around core concepts, expect plain truth.  Against calculated challenges, eventually persistence triumphs.  Amicability counters cruelty; everyone prefers trust.  Appear cheerful commonly, enacting polite thoughtfulness.

Level 10

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Level 9

I love this one!!! In Education I have to accept that things may not be "Perfect" but the students are learning and the teachers are able access the tools they want.

Level 10

This is a great article. When I think of "accept" I immediately go to our security officer who refuses to ACCEPT any level of risk. As a result, we have an unacceptably complex network with the combination of no documentation.

There are plenty of times we just need to accept where we are in order to move forward.

Level 11

"Perfect is the enemy of good" or, sometimes, really good.

It is generally wise to accept good in lieu of an all-consuming pursuit of perfect. Yet, that acceptance comes with a caveat: don't miss an opportunity to improve on 'good'. Search for them when work allows, perhaps when working on a similar project. Learn to spot those opportunities. Understanding what you are working on will help you recognize those chances. When you spot one, act to take advantage.

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When a better solution is presented, accept it!

A new employee asked me why do we do X.  I replied that we have done it that way since 1998, why change.

Thirty minutes later, I accepted the fact that we needed to change and became an advocate.

It was the right thing to do.

As my karate instructor would say, strike when the opportunity presents itself.

RT

Level 20

One things for sure... you don't have to ACCEPT poorly performing network problems as a huge black box!  We have the tools now to really dig into the network and find problems finally in a mostly usable way!  The best changes have occurred in the past 2 to 3 years too!

Level 10

Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory. George S. Patton

Level 13

Sometimes we just have to except that everything has an acception.

MVP
MVP

Sometimes you just have to accept a decision, no matter how wrong it is!  🙂   I'm all for fighting for what you know is right, but there comes a time when you either need to accept a decision made by those that do so, or go get a new job!

The timeliness of today's word, 'Accept', in the US's current political climate is timely. But this is an IT forum so I'll leave politics out of it.

I deal with acceptance all of the time in my career. I have to accept that my priorities don't align with others, my standards of job excellence is different than others, that I have to adhere to the 80/20 Rule instead of my own 100/0 Rule, that some tasks will never get done (and that light will continue to be red on my Solarwinds dashboard).

Level 10

Working in IT, Studying in IT,  even waay back in elementary school...or even before that, I've always known I would be involved with IT somehow....one way or another, with computers...with technology! I Accepted that fact a looong time ago. I mean... it was all so COOL!  It STILL IS!

It's an ADVENTURE! 

With every new adventure I move onto, as I grow... I've come to learn a few things.......

Accepting certain things is a part of life... of living it.

naSBSMR.jpg Accepting that sometimes you can work and try your hardest, and sometimes, things just don't work out. Which is actually perfectly okay! (probably not at the time but over time...you'll find it..really is okay).

Things didn't work out...but, that doesn't mean it's going to be the case All the time.....That's another thing to remind yourself as well. [Maybe a more important part].

Accept that no matter what life throws or CATAPULTS your way....

5986869569dc501d2286a2a2de909461.jpg To keep going forwards, moving ahead, and being the best that you can be.

While you go through different challenges, and move from one adventure of your life, to the next.... remind yourself it's alright to accept when it's time to let go of somethings........

afterstartrek.PNG [Also on a side note, you all knew this would happen, and I hope, accept that I'll always post a captains log related picture eventually]

While it's perfectly okay to hold on to somethings as well.

janeway-coffee-2.jpg... it's up to you.  Remember it's your life!

But try to be honest with yourself when you accept how you would like to move onto your next adventure.....and only YOU can be true to WHO YOU ARE!

You'll find that it's alright to have different ways to arrive to a solution....everyone has different methods to reaching their end goals. 

d55b796f7bb7b0e704e29d110ad90e49.jpg69ec325616d9ede9ee4aa8eee3b9fdc3.jpg

It doesn't mean your method is the wrong method, it's just a different method. [sometime times it can be the same method as others as well]].

I can probably go on and on for a lot longer....but I am worried that this post has already become too long... [and I'm starting to run out of funny Star Trek Memes].

So let me just say, Acceptance has amazing power.

You don't always have to accept everything life throws at you, but try your best to recognize when it's okay to accept some things...learn from them, and move on to the next thing. Enjoy your ADVENTURE!

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[On that note, I'm just going to leave this here...just because I find it funny: ISN'T TECHNOLOGY GREAT!? ]

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It is what it is. Accept it and move on

Level 12

Accept who you are and what you are that is all that matters. If you accept yourself your true beauty will shine.

Level 11

Learn to accept things

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Acceptance isn't my default nature, but I can do it. I accept that things are outside of my control. I accept that others may have different priorities and values. I do my best to encourage and support what I feel is best, and I accept that my best is all I can do.

Level 12

Acceptance is hard for me. If I am having to accept something, that usually means it is probably not as perfect as I would like it to be. It is part of my OCD. I hate settling for less then 100%. If I have to accept for something I did that is less then that, it bothers me a lot. I am generally accepting of change and understand that things change and never stay that same. I am generally a very accepting person, unless it involves myself.

Level 10

Lady luck doesn’t always fall our way. Sometimes you really wanted to go to that training class but management says no. We may not like it but accept it and move on.

Level 11

Accepting anything (results, personal situations, beliefs...) is important to me.  I feel it's hard to move past things without accepting where things stand.  Things did or did not work, OK, learn/grow and improve.

I have found that it's important in this line of work to accept the following (or at least it's important for me):

1. Our networks and applications are not perfect. If they were, would our employment be required?

2. Our communication with the business we support is not perfect. However, we can work on this - daily.

3. The things we *think* we control versus those things we actually control are not the same thing.

4. We will likely not achieve 100% uptime for everything, given the constraints of the real world. It's okay to try as hard as possible to get close.

5. Someday we will be on our deathbed, and we will not be thinking about work.

Level 8

There's a need for accepting responsibility - for a person's life and making choices that are not just ones for immediate short-term comfort. You need to make an investment, and the investment is in health and education. - Buzz Aldrin

Level 10

My Boss had a saying that he is fond of:

"Don't let perfection stand in they way of good enough"

Some days I can accept this.  Some days I just can't, I'm working on knowing when to accept it and when to fight for what I think is a better solution, that is helpful to everyone.  But he's right, sometimes it is best to accept good enough. Does it do the job, as needed?  Yes.  Is it serviceable and reliable?  Yes.  Is it the best code ever written?  No  Good enough!  🙂  I can accept that.

Level 10

Sometimes we just need to accept things the way they are because no matter how much you try some things/people/organization will not change or they might take way too much time or effort to change. So accept, and be happy, life is too short......

Level 12

It is very hard to accept the red x enclosed in a circle on Thwack.

Level 9

"To accept the things I cannot change...". For those who are curious, that is the middle part of the Serenity Prayer. The acceptance of life on life's terms is a huge part of a 12 step program. Changing what you can and dealing with what you can't can be pretty hard for some folks. When I accepted that, honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness began to develop in me and my approach towards things. It took half a century but I now face this thing called life one day at a time without the need to self-medicate with anything harder than an espresso. I wish it would have happened a few decades earlier but time takes time. I have come to accept that as well.

About the Author
In my sordid career, I have been an actor, bug exterminator and wild-animal remover (nothing crazy like pumas or wildebeasts. Just skunks and raccoons.), electrician, carpenter, stage-combat instructor, American Sign Language interpreter, and Sunday school teacher. Oh, and I work with computers. Since 1989 (when you got a free copy of Windows 286 on twelve 5¼” floppies when you bought a copy of Excel 1.0) I have worked as a classroom instructor, courseware designer, desktop support tech, server support engineer, and software distribution expert. Then about 14 years ago I got involved with systems monitoring. I've worked with a wide range of tools: Tivoli, Nagios, Patrol, ZenOss, OpenView, SiteScope, and of course SolarWinds. I've designed solutions for companies that were extremely modest (~10 systems) to those that were mind-bogglingly large (250,000 systems in 5,000 locations). During that time, I've had to chance to learn about monitoring all types of systems – routers, switches, load-balancers, and SAN fabric as well as windows, linux, and unix servers running on physical and virtual platforms.