#15 The Act of Borrowing

Good Morning!

The definition of borrowing is to take something from someone else, usually with their permission, to use for your own purpose with the intention of returning it.

I initially wrote this article as a part of another piece I am currently writing and thought that this subject needed to be it’s own article. There is some powerful stuff that I’ve learned in the past when it comes to borrowing things from people and the two main things are trust and expectations.

It’s an unwritten rule for using pretty much anything that we borrow, especially when at no cost to us, that we return whatever it is we borrowed in the same condition and to where we found it or where it’s supposed to go so the that the next person who wants to use it can find it.

Return the magazine to the pile, return the tool to the right drawer of the tool box.

Ask any tradesperson to borrow a tool out of their toolbox and then let me know what their response was.  It’s usually either a hard no, a question to the whereabouts of your own tools, or a reluctant yes and a warning of the repercussion of what happens if you don’t return said tool in the same condition and to place you found it.

Their tools are costly and are necessary to the practice of their craft, and respect for that is required. Knowing this, guarding their tools with such fervor makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?

In a setting where you have many people who need to use a limited number of tools, being organized is of great importance.  If you’ve taken any technical classes in a traditional school setting like I have, you know already that this idea is pounded into our heads.  

This means all tools must be returned before the next class arrives and if necessary, the entire class will scour the shop until the tool is found. When the tool is found, the person who didn’t put the tool back usually owns up to it and learns their lesson in an unforgivingly public manner. I’ve been there.

I vividly remember my shop teacher stressing the importance of returning the item you borrowed in the exact same condition, or better, to the exact location from which it came. 

His example was an old lawnmower than he borrowed from friend that was on vacation.  He picked it up from his friend’s garage, tuned it up because the mower hadn’t been run yet that year, repaired and painted a rust spot on the deck, used it to cut his lawn, cleaned it, and then returned it to the exact same spot in his friends garage. 

His friend upon returning home from vacation didn’t recognize his own mower because it was cleaned up and painted, and even thought my teacher had purchased a new mower for him!  

This story is over the top, I know, but it really got his point across:  if you borrow something and return it in the same or better condition than expected, then you’ll almost always earn the trust of that person so that you might be might be able to borrow something again when you really need it.

Not abusing that trust is another topic all together.

I’d love to hear what you think about this subject in the comments!

Have a good day!


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#12 – An Elegant Solution

Good Morning!

I’m reminded of the time there was a mechanical problem with a machine that I was tasked to program, but before I could begin it had to be modified to work correctly.  The modification was going to take some time, so I went on to other things.

When I came back later the problem was resolved, and was solved quite ingeniously I might add. 

I commented to the person that designed and implemented the modifications, using the old-timey saying “This is quite the elegant solution”.

There was a brief pause and then they broke out into laughter.

My collogues got a huge kick out of my propensity to choose words not typically used by the people in our industry. I do get carried away sometimes, especially if I have been reading. 

I didn’t actually intend it to be funny, but I got some excitement and a laugh from it too.

It’s experiences like this that remind me that sometimes I get lost my own thoughts of curiosity and wonderment; in my own little world so to speak.

I was enjoying inspecting and learning from what someone else had done. One of those ‘ah haaa!’ type moments where our bodies give us a shot of dopamine to feel good as our reward for what we’ve learned.

You can read all about that here if you want.

And so, “This is quite the elegant solution” became the saying of the day.

It really was an elegant solution though.