Headlines for Wednesday:

  1. Speaking of fitness landscapes... (381 words)



1. Speaking of fitness landscapes...: 22:10

Neil wanted to follow up on my post last 2008.08.12 about fitness landscapes and life, so here it is:

Imagine that a bumpy surface is in front of you, like a model of a group of mountains. Your task is to find the highest point on this surface. However, you can't see anything—you can only touch it with one finger.

By putting your finger anywhere and following the slope up slowly, taking little steps, you'll be sure to find some peak. But is it the highest point? There could be another, higher mountain a little further off. You may have to start again and trace up a different mountain. Jumping far away increases your chances of ending up at a different, possibly higher mountain. You might start out initially lower, but you might work your way up higher (or not).

No, I don't casually think about local and global maximums. I got prompted by a book called "More Than You Know: Financial Wisdom in Unconventional Places." Chapter 19 talks about fitness landscapes and how companies can evolve.

So I was thinking about fitness landscapes and business insights when a personal issue came to the fore. As I tried to sort it out, I found myself sketching a graph showing one of the reasons I had for making a certain difficult decision. I realized that although some people thought my decision was a step down from my "potential", I made that decision because I felt there was a higher peak somewhere. (And *I* thought it was actually a step up, or at least sideways, but that's beside the point...)

Life is a little like a fitness landscape, isn't it? You can make little changes that make your life better and better (or worse and worse, if you're not paying attention to where you're going). However, you can only get so far with those little changes. Sometimes bigger changes are needed. Sometimes you need to hike down one slope in order to go up another. And even if you make a mistake and the other mountain isn't as high as the one you were on, maybe the exercise will be good for you anyway!

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