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By Chandrama Anderson

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About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and have lived in and around Palo Alto since 1969. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in Silicon Valley for 15 years before becoming a therapist. My background i...  (More)

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Love Means Having Someone to Lose: Engineers Not Exempt

Uploaded: Oct 14, 2013
Formula 1 race driver and World champion Niki Lauda reminds me of a lot of Silicon Valley engineers I've met.

I saw the movie 'Rush' a few days ago with my teenage son, and I was struck by Lauda's brilliance, calculated risk-taking, and execution (I promise I won't spoil the plot for you).

Lauda initially took out a loan and bought his way into Ferrari as their number two driver. He then went to work with the mechanics to reconfigure his car. Driving Lauda's car, Ferrari's number one driver was able to shave 2.3 seconds off his time. Of course Lauda renegotiated his contract with Ferrari at that point.

Just before Niki married, he said to his wife-to-be, I'm not going to be very good at this –- at holding hands, remembering birthdays and anniversaries. And yet the next scenes were of joyful love, followed by fear. Niki essentially said that happiness means it's the end because he now has someone to lose.

I've seen a lot of engineers that are afraid to show their love. That doesn't mean it's not in there, and it doesn't mean that s/he is not capable of learning to show it. It also doesn't mean that s/he is not already showing love –- it just may not be in the way you are expecting to see it.

Many of the traits and skills that have made us successful in school and work may not be the ones that make us successful once we walk in the door at home.

Yet we need all of those traits and skills. We have to figure out which ones to use where, and how loud to use them in a given situation.

The takeaway this time: Experiment with not treating the love of your life like a co-worker.

Comments

 +  Like this comment
Posted by Geek, a resident of Stanford,
on Oct 15, 2013 at 1:16 pm

Check out Hazel Markus\\\' and Alana Conner\\\'s new book, Clash!, 8 Cultural Conflicts that Make Us Who We Are, for some insight about how the male-dominated culture of engineering may inadvertently reinforce a certain kind of behavior based on male predominance in tuning into their "independent" self vs. their "interdependent" self... and consider that "work" and "school" in Silicon Valley may reflect a lot of this culture of "independence" where a more balanced focus on "independence" and "interdependence" might create better and higher quality solutions for all... Fortunately not all engineers embody the perspective that "independence" is the only thing that really counts... it just seems that way sometimes.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Chandrama Anderson, a Almanac Online blogger,
on Oct 15, 2013 at 5:00 pm

Chandrama Anderson is a registered user.

Thanks for the book recommendation. We do need both independence and inter-dependence. We need to be flexible to move between them on the fly.


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