Earlier this week, it was Mandatory Fun night at work. My coworkers and I, and 3 levels of management spent several hours velcro-strapped into Virtual Reality gear diffusing bombs and protecting obelisks from weirdly aggressive flora in a forest. Once you suit up, you have to point a laser coming out of (seems like) your forehead, and then flap your arms a bit so the system can figure out your dimensions in the game.
My character was the priest. If I put my hands together as if in prayer and looked at a teammate, I could heal them. If I put a hand up near my ear, then swung it down in the direction of an enemy I could smite them by dropping a war hammer on them. Very cathartic. If I put my hands together in prayer, then splayed them wide, I could summon a tornado. Also very satisfying.
The thing was, despite the sensors and the arm flapping, my aim was off. I mean, I still healed up my warrior, archer, and mage, but those war hammers weren’t falling as accurately onto the nefarious plant life as I’d have liked. Don’t get me wrong, it was good times. Would VR again. But no matter how great my war hammers and my tornadoes were, if I couldn’t get them pointed in the right direction, they weren’t helping my team on our quest.
I went to a seminar early in my career that had a fun fact that I’ve carried through my whole career: When you’re on an airplane, 90% of the flight is off course. It’s only by making dozens of small course corrections, frequently, that your flight from Toronto to Vegas doesn’t end up in Panama. Remember way back when you learned orienteering, and you had to use the compass to set your trajectory so that you could find the next way-point. Everyone learned that if you rushed, a sloppy compass reading that was a few degrees off could set you hundreds of yards off the way-point. Same concept. Alas, the adrenaline of the VR games doesn’t give you a ton of time to course correct, my VR woes couldn’t be solved by more diligent compass work in the excitement of the game. I’ve been learning this my whole life, and it may or may not have taken a war hammer to a murderous mushroom to make me put it together.
I’ve been thinking about how in my reallyreal reality, the times when I’m not quite facing the direction I think that I think I’m facing might be significant. I can’t get the results I want because my metaphorical tornado is wobbling off to the east. Yeah, can relate. Life lessons can happen at cruising altitude, at professional development seminars, and during mandatory fun. Sometimes, it’s even the same lesson! Thanks, brain.
This Advent, may the course corrections be frequent and purposeful, and may the results of my actions match well to the intentions of my actions.