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What the M&M’S sorting machine designer can teach Expat Partners

Geschreven door Heidi Los

This blog is about M&M’s and Expat Partners. More specific: it’s about the skills a machinedesigner can teach Expat Partners. Not technical but personal skills and persistence to let your dreams come to life! ‘Are you sure?’ Yes, I want to talk to you about what we can learn from the maker of the M&M’S sorting machine; let’s find out what he teaches us.  

What I don’t like about it…

First, let me sum up all the nonsense about it because the only thing I like about the M&M’S sorting machine is the process. You tell me. What is the point of having a sorting machine for M&M’S?

Having a machine that sorts out green with green, blue with blue and yellow with yellow? That is really important and life changing?  No. Sorry. I don’t see the point. A Dutch student spent a rough 500 hours of time and effort on the whole process. That is quite an amazing amount of hours in my opinion; at least for something ridiculous.

To begin with, from an environmental standpoint, I really hope this machine will not be taken into production. Who will buy it anyway? If you consider buying such a machine, keep in mind that is likely to end up on the pile of other gadgets you only used once or twice. The planet does not need this.

Next, there is the fact that the machine is taking away a fun activity while eating the M&M’S. For some of us, eating M&M’S is not just about tossing them into our mouths.  For those who tend to be perfectionists or who have (a milder version of) OCD, there is a technique to it.  Do they eat one at a time, two of the same color, only odd numbers of different colors?   Also, for children, the machine would take away yet another form of playing –  a fun way of learning to count, learning about colours and choosing. What colour first; which one to keep for last? There is no opportunity for that with the sorting machine. No, I don’t want that machine.

This is what I like about it…

What I do like about this whole thing is the dream this student had as a little boy. A machine that could sort out the colors was a magical thought to him. It was a dream and he made it happen! That’s what I like; having a dream or goal and focusing on it until you get the solution or end result – reaching the destination. Finally being able to say, ‘I did it! YES!’

To devote all of the time and energy to that one project, using all of those skills like statistics, writing software and -of course- the design. Working with 3D printers, collaborating with others, pressing on after failure, fine-tuning the process and becoming the best machine in the end. Oh my, so many things he learned during this process.

It is an inspiring thing – knowing that he made his dreams come alive. He took a boy’s dream to the next level. That is what he did. That is a wonderful thing to me.

Chapeau to Willem Pennings!

So, what can we learn from M&M’s?

Referring to the title, what can we learn from this M&M’S sorting machine; or better yet, from Willem?
This is what he can be credited with doing:

 1       Making dreams come true

 2       Developing skills

 3       Using skills

 4       Developing a new product

 5       Building something new

 6       Learning new things

 7       Improving himself

 8       Just doing it

 9       Finding funds

10      Convincing bystanders

11      Completing something

12      Organizing his time well

13      Focusing in order to accomplish things

14      Pressing on until the end!

Wow, that is a long list full of skills and I bet you can add more!

Now, what about you?

As Expat Partners, we sometimes have so much time that we forget to get into action. We sort of ‘walk away’ from our talents. Most of us have pretty good reasons for that. Some Expat Partners complain that they have no time at all for anything. Either way,  does that lead you to a happier you? Do you feel your life is satisfying and meaningful? If you feel a lack of satisfaction, I have some questions for you:

What kind of action taken by Willem sticks out to you most?

What sort action do you lack?

Is there something you should give more attention to in life, to reach a happier state of being?

What would you like to do with this insight? Or better:

Starting today, what will you do with this insight ?

What I can do for you Expat Partner…

In a one-hour appointment, I can help you find answers to these questions, and, believe me, I guarantee it. I will put you to action! Not that I want more machines like this, but I want your dreams to come true and motivate you to start.

It’s all about using your talents and getting into action. 
If you know me, you know that I can’t stand to see unused talent.
If you feel you need that kick, give it a try and call me (today!).

Here is the link to the video about the machine, with technical details.

: Looking forward to discuss this with you!

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