On Movement. Image credit - flickr

Here And There
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The drive for excellence depends on assimilating enough knowledge about a challenge to deal with it, in the most efficient way as possible.

I entered the barber shop not knowing about the increase. I noticed it on the wall, in the middle of the cut. Time has flown, my hair is gone, but there is still some stubble to be trimmed. It’s just that the price had gone up by a whole 50%. Overnight. There were no reasons. There had been a two day notice, and I had no choice. What remained of the hair was already trimmed, and the trimming price had moved, up.

My job has taught me quite a bit about movement. Good health is all based on movement. Good life is based on little movements timed to perfection. At the cellular, tissue, organ stage, it’s all about timing. All the way from molecular agitation, to human beings fulfilling purpose, it has always been about coordination of movement. Small additions of planned movement culminating in big impact. And as surgery has matured, it has all been about imitating these processes. The path of development of this science, has always been about accumulating as much knowledge as possible,

It is a medical principle, the basis of all successful science. It is the foundation of all scientific training. The drive for excellence depends on assimilating enough knowledge about a challenge to deal with it, in the most efficient way as possible. In surgery it is economy of movement. The more one knows about how to do something well, the finer the movements are, and the fewer. As knowledge has increased, keyhole surgeries have replaced big incision operations. Big surgeries have become small challenges. Huge, complex operative interventions have become intricate solutions that have the patient going home the next day.

Where knowledge abounds, movement is guided with the end goal in mind. Waste is not an option. The first movement is as important as the last. And in the long run, there is no one movement that makes the difference, but the whole concert of orchestrated, small movements. The operating room is also called a theatre, especially because of this. It is a beauty to see the honed skill of rehearsed movement in the search of the cure for a disease. Surgery has always been a competitive sport, against the disease, and against self. In theatre, the cheering is always against the disease. The smaller the movements are, the bigger the impact, the sweeter the victory. Much like how awestruck we are by that team that scores a beautiful goal after seemingly endless pinpoint passing in the penalty box.

Small movements don’t only win inside the theatre. They win in the world. They win on the football field. They win in economics. They win in law. They win in every human enterprise. Small moves win only because of the knowledge that drives them. The people, who do not invest in that accumulation of knowledge, are run by instinct, status quo. Gross moves do not win. Defeat triumphs, confidence dissipate, and the culture stagnates under the weight of underachievement and unfettered loss. Synergy surrenders to meaningless epileptic jitters.

And for every barber brave enough to grant a 50% increase in price, in this economy, there is a trader, a carpenter, a trotro driver, ready to do the same. And for every gross business move which is not based on an initial assimilation of knowledge, there is a price to be paid. And posterity pays, not just for the decisions of today, but also those of yesterday, because that is what gross moves do. If we have been granted mind power to assimilate knowledge, and we do nothing with it, we only reap consequences… not the harvest of victory.

There is something about why Ghana still blooms. There is really something to be thankful for, that in a country so steeped in the consequences of decisions of yesterday, there is still so much to hope for. There is something in the joy of the street. The matured taste of the food. The beauty of extended family, extended love. The smile of the Makola woman. The relentless bravery of the car-racing street trader. The gnarled, heat resistant fingers of the kenkey seller.

The patience of a people, waiting for their synergy.