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On Sunday, I opened my weather app to see the forecast for the upcoming week hoping against hope that warmer weather was coming to Chicago. All my neighbors have seen their snow melt away revealing the ground underneath, yet my back yard is still snow covered.

Two weekends ago, I so wanted to see something besides white, that I took the snowblower out and cleared the patio down to the ice underneath. Then I spent a few hours clearing the ice off as well. It was a sunny 40 degree day, so the sun melted it as I went along. I actually felt better simply seeing the furniture sitting there no longer buried in snow.

Then all last week I watched my neighbor’s yards appearing in the 40 degree highs until they only have patches of snow left, while ours is still ninety percent covered in snow. What the…?

It could be because I threw all the snow from the patio down there. The law of unintended consequences might apply here. It was a lot of snow, but I think there is more to it than that.

I believe it is a conspiracy against me personally. It is the same conspirator that fills my back yard with water every spring, enough to attract the occasional duck, get my dog’s legs all muddy and prevent me from mowing the grass in the perfect suburban way until it finally dries out in late May.

I haven’t yet discovered the mastermind behind the conspiracy. All I know is that the Universe, Mother Nature, Gaia, Helios (greek god of the sun), Thanos or some other all powerful being is punishing me. You know I’m right.

Again I digress. I was talking about the weather app. So when I looked at the weather app, there was a video showing a huge ocean tanker hovering in mid air over the water. Clear proof that the government has technology that could do something to save us all. Or kill us. Or it could be aliens. I always get those confused. Yet another conspiracy!

Then, the video on the weather app explained that it was an optical illusion called a superior mirage created by a temperature inversion. A temperature inversion occurs when cold, dense air closer to the water with warmer air above it bends the light toward the observer on the shore, making the ship appear to float above the water. That is actually pretty cool.

One of the primary tenets of science, psychology, philosophy, rationality and just plain common sense, is that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one.

Also known as the law of parsimony, the law of economy, or Ockham’s razor (also spelled Occam), this principle is essential for effective leadership as well.

Human beings are complex, with myriad motivations, goals, desires and dreams.Yet, it is important that a leader not get caught up in convoluted conspiracy theories of why your staff are behaving a certain way.

Most people simply want to be secure in their jobs, valued for their contribution and treated with respect.

If you can accomplish that as the leader, you will have great success.

So, I guess my snow issue could be because our yard gets more shade when the sun is lower in the sky during the winter. And that ponding effect could be because our yard and the three neighbors whose yards connect in the corner are the low spot of the block with insufficient drainage to the street. Kind of a boring explanation, but most likely accurate.


Dr. Jeff

P.S. Update: We had temps in the mid to upper 60’s this week. All snow is gone. And yes, I have water in the back yard. No ducks yet though.

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