In graduate school, I worked with Dr. Tom on my Master’s Thesis. I looked at edge detection in a given image or picture. An edge can be defined as the border separating regions of high and low, regions of dark and light. You get the picture.
We looked at edge detection methods under various non-ideal conditions. Consider a TV broadcast image obscured or corrupted by interference–what we refer to as noise. In the presence of noise, the edges in images become more difficult to discern.
In my research with Dr. Tom, I created a probabilistic methodology to detect edges in noisy images, i.e. images corrupted by noise. The methodology leveraged mathematical random variables and probability theory to derive an optimal threshold for detecting an edge in a picture.
As I began writing my thesis, Dr. Tom said, “Tell a story that everyone can understand.” The purpose can easily get lost in the mathematical forest. Regardless of complexity, Dr. Tom taught me to always look at the bigger picture.
When I get the bigger picture, I can tell a simple story that everyone can understand, despite its complexity. Look for simplicity in the complicated. Don’t add to its complexity. Ask the smart questions, instead of expecting smart answers. Ironically, simplicity ain’t simple. I think that was Dr. Tom’s lesson. Just saying.
So I looked at the bigger picture in more ways than one. I told a story:
Imagine that you have a chalkboard. Tape a piece of paper that is half black and half white on the chalkboard. Cut out a square in a piece of cardboard. Slide the square over the piece of paper. As you slide the square over the piece of paper, you will see one of three things: 1. All black; 2. All white; 3. black and white. What you see in 3 is an edge.
In my thesis, I told a simple story of a complex problem that was more or less accessible and understandable to others by keeping the bigger picture in mind. The bigger picture can apply to more than some thesis on linear edge detection.
In the bigger picture, we can tell a story about the very complicated in such a way that others understand. We can tell a story such that others get it. Learning to tell a simple story of the complex has been invaluable in my career. Mad love and respect for Dr. Tom. Telling a story can have even more meaningful applications.
What’s more complex than a life, yours or mine? Can we tell a story about our life such that others can get it? Can we tell a story where we are gotten by others? After all, as human beings, being gotten is what we want most. Just saying.
In the Social Media Age, the predominant story-line is a competitive comparison. Who’s prettier? Who’s richer? Who’s better? We construct stories validating that we’re better or worse than others, and gather supporting evidence. These stories either prove others wrong or make ourselves right. Just saying.
In the bigger picture, our simplest story is about our most authentic selves that makes a difference for others.
My story is about a boy, who grew up in Hawaii, who was terrified of his Dad. I never knew why what I did or didn’t do was wrong. I was always wrong. Dad’s voice became mine, “You’ll never be enough.” Mom was my savior. She had compassion and taught me the kindness and gentleness define a good man. So I endured my childhood.
As a kid, I got really good at hating on me. I was the unattractive short fat nerd, not good at any sports. I had nearly zero chance of meeting a nice pretty girl. I was never going to be strong enough. I was never going to be smart enough. I was never going to be enough. Period. I sold out on happy.
Throughout much of my life, I had to prove that I was strong and smart enough. That I was deserving of being loved. I discovered stronger or smarter would never be strong or smart enough. That’s just human design.
The universe brought Mizukami Sensei and me together. Sensei taught me Aikido and what it is to be a good man. Sensei granted the space to be me. I could create my greater-than versions in that space. I did transformational education work with Jerome and Richard. I got that I choose, who I’m going to be in any moment. I’m the one, who gives meaningfulness to my life.
On my journey of self-healing, I work with my therapist Lance on my childhood trauma and depression. In grinding it out, I stopped hating on me, so much. I started being kinder to myself. I reinvented that voice in my head to “I’m okay.”
Aikido Founder O-Sensei said, “True victory is victory over oneself.” I love myself for who I am, and I forgive myself for who I’m not. I try to get out of my own way.
Dear friend Cheryl taught me the Japanese aesthetic wabi-sabi: Beauty lies in our imperfection. She said, “Life is imperfectly perfect.” Amen. I discover my measure of peace in accepting me, my imperfections and strengths. I train on my next greater-than version. Like Mizukami Sensei said, “Just train.”
In my story: Love and forgive thine own self. I’ve taken the road less traveled, arriving in a greater place. Our paths shall be all different because we are each different. Still on your path: Have compassion, be kind to others and be kind to yourself. Learn to love and forgive thine own self. After all, you’re gonna spend a lifetime with thine own self.
It doesn’t matter when you get love and forgiveness. Still, make it sooner than later. I would know. Just saying.
What’s your story? Tell your story so that everyone understands and wants to tell their story.
Are you a budding writer, or maybe you have some experience but are not yet published on The Good Men Project?
What personal story of yours will touch the lives of the GMP readers? What is your own Bigger Picture?
WRITE FOR US!
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