Monday, July 12, 2010


Merriam-Webster defines ambition as "an ardent desire for rank, fame, or power" and a "desire to achieve a particular end."

While the first definition might apply to a subset of Canine Educators, those striving for titles or placements, I'm definitely not one of them and the sort of ambition I'm talking about here falls under the second definition: a desire to achieve a particular end.

Now, I generally believe that ambition is a good thing. Ambition keeps us heading toward our goals, even when our lives are too busy, the conditions adverse, and the work is hard. But there is a negative side to ambition - and not just the sort that was portrayed so well in the 80's movie Wall Street.

I believe that ambition turns from good to bad when we become so focused on the act of accomplishing something that we loose sight of why we are trying to accomplish it.

... which leads up to the topic of today:

If anyone has been watching the Weekly Worksheets over the last few months, they will probably have noticed two things:
  1. I'm not making much headway on many of the items there
  2. The number of subjects/activities I'm trying to cover has been slowly increasing
(In case there is any confusion on the matter: more stuff plus less done does not equal success.)

If recognizing there is a problem is the first step towards solving it, then consider step one accomplished: "Houston, we have a problem."

Googling "steps to solving a problem" turned up this list, from "The Happy Manager":
  1. Find the right problem to solve
  2. Define the problem
  3. Analyze the Problem
  4. Develop Possibilities
  5. Select the Best Solution
  6. Implement
  7. Evaluate and Learn
(... actually it turned up lots of lists like this, but I liked this one the best because of the first item. It does no good to create a solution to a problem until you are sure you have the right problem.)

Step 1: Find the right problem to solve

Let's go with: Lack of progress toward goals.

I think it is important to emphasis "progress" here, as that's what seems to be lacking. I do not believe this is an attainability, capability, or trainability problem. While my goals might be overly ambitious for me, given how much time I have available, the worst that should happen is that I fail to accomplish some of them, not this dead-in-the-water syndrome I seem to be stuck in.

Step 2: Define the problem

... and here Happy Manager notes: "The secret to defining the problem, is really about attitude. Try to see every problem as an opportunity."



Back to the Happy Manager I go, and find yet another page with yet more questions to answer.

Alas, as this post is already getting a bit long, I have much to ponder, and the dogs' vacant expressions suggests time spent on the computer isn't helping their education (or my progress) one bit.



katie, Maizey and Magnus said...

please continue to elaborate on this problem solving. For if you feel you have "dead in the water syndrome" I must be wallowing on the bottom of the lake!LOL I just can't get it together the last few weeks. So write on-maybe you'll help be too! thnx for sharing this!

BZ Dogs said...

I just feel like I've been staring down the same items (duration sits/downs, contacts, scenting, retrieving...) for what seems like forever. I keep lots of things on my list because I thought the variety would keep me motivated, and it did, for a quite a while. I felt the work done before CGC was extremely successful. But lately it's starting to seem like a burden (as things just aren't getting done) and I'm wondering if perhaps I need to refine either my education process, or my lesson planning... something.

Something is "out of whack" - I'm just not quite sure what... but we'll get to the bottom of it! Thank you for your comments (here and in the the past!)