The Dimensions that Create and Control
Volume, Content, and Value
To help explain the next point that arises from basic geometry, think of a piece of furniture which is designed to hold things. Something like a cabinet, or a chest of drawers. The picture below is a simple example, supplemented by the most commonly-used names of the dimensions which control how large the unit will be (i.e., height, width, and depth), and how much it will be able to hold:
The "volume" of that cabinet or chest of drawers can be expressed in terms of cubic feet, or cubic inches, or any metric equivalent. That volume is calculated by a simple and basic mathematical operation: multiply the width, the height, and depth, all together. The simple version of the formula is V = W x H x D, where "x" represents the multiplier function, rather than some unknown variable. If a chest of drawers is 4 feet wide, 3 feet tall, and 1.5 feet deep, then it can hold up to 18 cubic feet (reduced by the thickness and volume of the pieces of wood that were used to make the cabinet or chest).
In pondering or analyzing nearly anything that is able to receive, hold, carry, and protect things which have meaning, depth, and value -- and that phrase can apply, not just to furniture, but to things like a life, a career, or an important relationship -- it often can be helpful to pause, and ask yourself, "How would I describe -- and, how would I name? -- the three most important factors, or dimensions, which work together, and contribute to the overall result, to determine how much this ____ [i.e., this life, career, relationship, or whatever] can hold, and carry, and contain, and protect?"
When I think about and try to analyze, describe, and better understand things like lives, careers, and accomplishments, I often end up thinking that the three most important "dimensions" which must combine with each other, to create volume and value, can usually be described in terms such as the following (for clarity and simplicity, this discussion will refer to "he" without trying to also cover and include female pronouns):
1. One of the dimensions is talent. Basic natural, raw, talent. How much did this person have, of whatever special type of gift, knack, or talent, for doing the specific types of chores, and tasks, and planning, that were necessary, in order for this thing to grow, prosper, and succeed? Did he have the type of natural gift and talent, for this type of work, which enabled him to be happy, or at least somewhat content, while he was doing it? Or, when it comes to relationships, did this person have a natural ability to create a truly caring, sharing, affectionate, committed, and lasting partnership, with someone else? Or, was he troubled and tormented by desires, drives, and needs that could never be met, by anyone, for more than just a few weeks, months, or years?
2. A second major dimension can be phrased and formulated as, did he put in the hours, and the effort? How many days did he actually show up, and do the work, versus how many days did he decide not to? Some of the words that apply to this dimension or factor include diligence, persistence, dedication, discipline, and work ethic. Put simply, someone usually will not succeed, unless he actually shows up, day after day, month after month, and just plain does the work that needs to be done. If this factor is faulty, and insufficient, then no matter how big and broad the other two dimensions are, the cabinet will not be able to hold enough to be worthwhile. It would be like a set of drawers that is five feet wide, and four feet tall, but only 3 inches deep. Any drawers that are only 3 inches deep are not going to be able to hold much, unless they were specifically designed and intended for shallow things, like a jewelry display.
3. The third crucial dimension usually centers on whatever factors the worker/owner can NOT control. Words like luck, fate, destiny, "intangibles", and sometimes "timing" tend to apply, here. Like it or not, we are all affected by things we just plain cannot control -- at least, not directly. So, this actually becomes a factor and dimension that deserves, and requires, some of the most careful attention, planning, discussion, and focus. Those who are able to create the best and most successful plans -- which translates into, "the best and most successful actual and profitable working systems and structures" -- are the ones who are either lucky enough, or in some cases shrewd enough, to do the prep work at a well-chosen, well-planned time, so that they will be ready to approach their customers, audience, marketplace, or whatever, at a good time, rather than a bad time.
So . . . a piece of advice that I occasionally offer to inventors, is this:
1. "Think in terms of three dimensions, or three major factors. The three most important factors which are likely to affect your invention, and your chances of success. Not just one, and not just two, but three."
2. "Then, try to figure out what the three most important factors are, in this thing -- this invention, this project, this goal -- that you are working on. How would you described those three largest and most important factors, in words? How would you explain them, to a potential investor?"
3. "Then, focus on what you are doing -- and whatever else you might be able to do, if you tried, or if you got some additional help -- to try to expand and enlarge whichever single specific factor poses the tightest constraints, limits, and restrictions, on what you're trying to build or accomplish."
It all comes down to being able to understand things like geometry, and reality. Once someone focuses, for even just a few minutes, on how the volume -- and value -- of a cabinet will depend on the multiplied product of three different dimensions, they can more easily see, and understand, the need to identify not just the one most important factor, but the three most important factors, which will end up controlling the volume, the contents, and value, of what they are trying to do.