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An Inventor's Quest for the NHL Pt. 13
Progressing by Avoiding Work
This series follows my attempt to develop a product that I dream of getting into the NHL. Previously on the Quest: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12
Typically, I update you on my progress by telling you about what I did. This time, I’d like to tell you about what I didn’t do.
After I determined that my cage was at least as good as a metal cage for concussions (as you read in my last update), I started getting a little greedy. What if I could make a cage that not only had better visibility, like I’d originally intended, but also had better energy absorption? In other words, what if I could make a cage that was a big step forward in both safety and performance?
I started thinking about how I’d go about it – maybe I’d switch from carbon fiber to a flax composite, which is much better at damping, and maybe I could find something better than Kevlar for the strings. I promised myself I’d only spend a week (or two) to build and test some alternatives.
In the end, though, I did none of that.
I like to think I do a pretty good job of stepping back and taking a look at the bigger picture, but sometimes it’s helpful to get an outside perspective for real clarity. Here, it was my brother that saved me from adding what was more than likely a month’s worth of work. He reminded me that there would a never-ending list of things I’d want to improve and that I could save some of those things for a second version. My goal right now isn’t to make the best cage that could theoretically ever be made, but “just” to make one that’s better than anything else out there.
If I’d gone down that energy absorption path, you would have seen a lot of visible effort, which would have been easy to mistake for progress. This kind of progress – harder to see but no less valuable – comes from not doing something. For fans of Avatar: The Last Airbender, it reminds me of King Bumi’s neutral jing.
Of course, considering I spent the last month on a bit of a wild goose chase, I’m clearly no expert.
Thanks for reading,