The Logical Philosopher

Friday, February 03, 2006

The Epiphany of the S-Factor

I seem to have settled into two types of writings: humor oriented and contemplative. As I sat and thought about some recent experiences, today’s post is on the latter. For those looking for my other humor posts, regular programming will commence later this weekend.

Patience. Anxiety. Stress. Happiness. Joy. Optimism. Euphoria.

The common theme: All emotions that can make or break our day, week or even month. But what drives these? Our experiences and environment – both internal and external? How can we leverage the good and suppress the bad? As an amateur social scientist, indulge me as I digress to with my thoughts on this.

I have been postulating how to reclaim the gift of patience. Apparently at my accident a few months back several of my emotions spilled haphazardly onto the sidewalk. Unfortunately for me the ambulance crew forgot to pack them up with the rest of my possessions for the ride to the hospital. Whoops. (They also left parts of my grammar & spelling skills in case you were wondering). So, somewhere on at the side of the road on the rainy west coast lies a small box of patience, ironically, waiting patiently for me to reclaim it. I can just envision the Lassie plotline for this: what’s that boy? Patience is stuck down on the frozen river? Let’s go get help!

Too bad Lassie didn't know how to ice skate, because then if she was in Holland on vacation in winter and someone said "Lassie, go skate for help," she could do it. - Jack Handey

Being the Logical Philosopher I will endeavor to explain my epiphany on how patience can be reclaimed by using a mix of mathematics and social philosophy. My premise is based on an understand of the “scope of the moment”, of which I will explain below. I hope at least one person can follow me….

“Scope of the moment” can be thought of as a mathematical function based on four influences, resulting in our emotional response to the situation:

f(Physical, Cognitive, Social, S-Factor) = emotional (in)stability.

  • Physical includes both fatigue and physical stress emotions (which may, for example, show up in ones Fight or Flight response)
  • Cognitive includes your emotional intelligence, mental state and ability to deal with situations.
  • Social includes internal situational awareness (are you prepared for this to happen?) and your ability to manage the external social environment.

These first three influences can be controlled or managed by us individually at some level, but the fourth has the ability to overshadow all of them. I call this dominating influence the S-factor. Further, I suggest that the S-factor can outweigh negative influences and enhance positive influences, regardless of if the influences are internal or external.

So what is this S-factor? It is our ability to refrain from viewing things in the “scope of the moment”. Like a mental hit of Ativan: simple, yet powerful.

Experience local. Respond Gloal.

I have come to realize that in irritable and low patience experiences one’s life our cognitive processes suddenly focuses on the narrow, defined moment. Viewing the situation through such a small, tight lens is equivalent to getting upset at the five minute delay on your intercontinental flight. At the moment – irritating. In the trip of live – insignificant. So, how do we influence our scope? After all, by understanding our influences we can more easily adapt and overcome. To do this we must view situations more globally in “the scope of life”, and not the “scope of the moment”.

In our instant, “I want my MTV” generation we have become too accustom to the rapid fire rise and fall of our daily emotions. Viewing this lifestyle from the outside once can see it probably isn’t emotionally healthy to have our emotions linked to the speed as witch the information superhighway can provide our instant gratification. But, we still engage in it.

Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. - Ferris Bueller

So where to we go from here? How do we apply this? Understanding how to leverage our S-factor is key to this. Re-evaluating things from “must do” to “should do” will help minimize and bring relevance to “scope of the moment” situations. I think once we do that, perhaps we may shift to a less stressful lifestyle.

One request: In your travels if you happen to find my box of patience in an emotional lost and found box somewhere, let me know. In the mean time I shall continue to re-scope my local experiences with a global perspective.