One-hit wonders

Who remembers Babylon Zoo’s “Spaceman”, Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star” or Men Without Hats’ “Safety Dance”?

Not really?

Don’t worry, you are probably not alone.

The reason for this being that the aforementioned bands are classic one-hit wonders… suddenly appearing, power-played on the radio until their song threatens to come out of your ears – to shortly thereafter vanish back into oblivion.

Looking back over the past years got me wondering about the way people can sometimes get fixated on one single topic, identifying and defining themselves very strongly via one theme. Of course, that is not the way life plays out, things are never that easy and are almost always made up of multiple layers, not just one. One technique to rule them all? Hardly, methinks.

I remember quite humorous situations where the way in which one person would keep bringing the discussion back to their pet theme seemed almost compulsive – even if at that point of the discussion it did not really contribute a viable solution.

Reminds me a bit of the student, so the story goes, who was preparing for an exam. He had been told that the professor taking the exam was really keen on blackbirds, so consequently he had learned all there is to learn about blackbirds. Imagine his surprise when the first question the professor fired off at him during the exam was: “Tell me about earthworms”. “Err… right. Earthworms are long, thin and pink, live under ground and are eaten by blackbirds, who, by the way….” and off he went.

I am not pointing fingers here or making fun of anybody.

Fair game if you have something you think is important or highly relevant to the arborist world, by all means, bring it to the table. But at the same time I feel it is important to not lose the bigger picture out of sight, the way in which a complex task is performed – and tree work is without a doubt such a complex task – will always consist of many facets, a rich mosaic, so adding an extra stone or facet, whilst it is certainly beneficial, cannot not replace all that went before, but rather adds to it.

Let’s not sell ourselves short by being mono-thematic one-hit wonders, let’s rather choose the long haul option, progressing with open minds and senses, integrating new technique and tools into our tool box while not forgetting to diligently consider potential strengths and weaknesses as we are doing so.