Many years ago, my husband and I started attending a new church. We noticed that there were signs everywhere regarding the ant problem. Signs asking to wipe down tables. Signs reminding to take the garbage out every day, etc. The table legs each sat in small bowls filled with water so that the ants, apparently unable to swim, couldn’t make their way up the legs and onto the tables. This was especially interesting because the chair’s legs didn’t sit in water and could provide access to the table tops if the ants so choose.
One day we asked if they had a pest control company that they worked with. Yes, they did and the company came out once per month. We asked if they might think of hiring a different company that could eradicate the ant problem. They said that they hadn’t discussed the problem with their company. With one phone call, the ant problem dissipated.
What this situation taught me was that comments from fresh eyes can force people to self-reflect. Folks new to a situation may see it differently. Their comments may or may not be accurate, however, when someone questions something I’m doing I may not like what they’re saying but I remind myself about the ants and consider the observation. Sometimes it’s useful, sometimes it’s not but it does keep me from getting comfortable in complacency.
Thoughts that are alien to any of my other projects can be found here.