Review of 2017 Aspirational Quotes

Photo courtesy of and copyright Free Range Stock and Eric Yuen

Resolutions for the new year have long been abandoned by me. Instead, I find quotes that capture an attribute or life practice to which I aspire. Before choosing my 2018 quotes it seemed wise to reflect on last years’ quotes.

It isn’t that they can’t see the solution. It is that they can’t see the problem. –G. K. Chesterton

Engineers focus on problems and the bane of our existence is when others don’t see the problem we see. This quote pronounces the antithesis of “Looks like a solution looking for a problem.” This often happens when an engineer gets hold of new shiny technology. Last year I continued to share my ideas on a problem I noticed in the semiconductor industry back in 2008

The problem– as the industry shifted to a larger building block approach to silicon design- System On a Chip (SoC) the manufacturing test data did not accommodate the decentralized design process. Engineering teams within and outside a company could design these IP blocks and then they could be used by another design team. However, manufacturing test data reported out on the overall product. Hard to improve your IP design without the data. Manufacturing test data has continued to focus on product failure data with very little indication of which of the many IP blocks is related to the failure. How will the IP block designers find out if there is an issue? How will SoC design teams find out if they are choosing an IP with a track-record of high yield?

When I first started with this idea I didn’t get much encouragement, people didn’t see the problem as I did. I persisted. By pursing the problem and sharing my ideas I have found follow travelers. In 2017, I presented two posters at two different conferences on IP manufacturability. I am encouraged that at least others now see the problem.

Great things are done by a series of small things brought together. –Vincent van Gogh

Like artists, engineers need to pay attention to the small things in order to make something big. Tis often the small things like a badly formed rivet that can shorten the life of a bridge. While he grappled with some home maintenance solution my Dad would often say “Ah the subtleties of life” attributing it to Leonardo da Vinci. Dad, also an engineer, shared with me his hard earned belief that little things matter. Over the years, people have praised my attention to detail and my ability to see the bigger picture.  For the small things to be brought together one needs patience. The Engineers’ Daughter blog site has slowly developed– one blog post at a time, one conversation at a time.

The art of life lies in constant readjustment to our surroundings. –Okakura Kakuzo

Adapting to the things that shift in our surroundings tis no easy habit.  We think change is a permanent thing that we need to adapt to, yet it is fluid. The word “readjustment” resonated with me; adjust differs from adapt. This past year I’ve been listening to books about characteristics that make us successful in the work place, most recently The Art of Woo by G. Richard Shell and Mario Moussa.  While people often have a preferred way of influencing others the more successful people will shift to another way in order to win someone over. The ability to adjust one’s tactics to succeed reflects Kakuzo’s quote. Distinguished teachers do this superbly as their end goal is their student’s success. Many times as a student I observed the best teachers rephrased what they say in response to the blank stares from some of their students.

We are not Human beings having a spiritual experience; we are Spiritual beings having a human experience. –Pierre  Teilhard de Chardin

As a Roman Catholic I have a faith in a God. While people rationally can point out arguments that there is no God because of war, disease, “insert your bad thing here” to me faith has never been about circumstances. Though as a human being I need to live with those circumstances. I liked this quote because it reminded me that I exist beyond my circumstances. A reminder that the spiritual plane should not be viewed as secondary but primary.

Its February and I’m about to sit down in choose my 2018 quotes.  Sometimes I repeat one of the quotes, sometimes I choose a quote that has a similar theme than a last year’s quote.  In a future post I’ll share 2018 quotes with just a few thoughts on why they resonated with me.

Have a Productive Day,

Anne Meixner

Dear Reader, please share your comments and stories that are sparked by this piece. How do you set goals for the year? Do you have a quote that inspires you? See Contribute for how you can share a story at The Engineers’ Daughter.

Additional Reading

Most readers probably know something about Vincent Van Gogh.  The other people I actually don’t know much about so I did a little research.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was a Jesuit priest and trained scientist.

Okakura Kakuzo was an artist and promoter of Japanese Arts.

G. K. Chesterton’s writings ranged from literary critiques to philosophy to theology.


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