How I use Google Maps to work through big problems

“Half of the people will probably test.”

When he said it, I felt futility, a bit of anger, and general disappointment.

Good people who cared deeply about the career development of safety professionals had put together a certification preparation workshop and invited interested safety professionals from across the country to attend.

On the first day of class, I asked a senior manager how they’d track the successful completion of the exams. That’s when he told me how many would actually test. At best, only half of the attendees would schedule and sit for the exam.

I sat with an array of feelings for several hours. And by “sat”, I mean “ran a few miles shouting randomly to nearby birds and prairie dogs”.

Then a friend reminded me about Google Maps.

You see, it’s a way to solve problems dating back to Plato. While Plato didn’t have access to satellite technology, he would use the tallest hill to gain perspective. From a high hill, people, houses, horses, and even cities would appear quite small…and the big issues of the day would be put in perspective.

So I pulled up Google Maps. Scrolling out from the blue dot, cities and even states become small. Going out further, North America becomes the size of a palm. Further out still, the world resembles a tennis ball.

And problems once again appear as they should.

In perspective and solvable.

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