Patterns — 81

This post is part of Project: Inception, written ~8 years ago. It has been untouched from its original, pseudonymous, form. It is also part of the larger “farewell” tour and countdown as I turn-off this blog and head to the metaverse where I will live out the rest of my wonderful days. I hope to see you there!


At this point it’s almost like that boy in M. Night Shyamalan‘s movie, The Sixth Sense, who says:

I see dead people.

I almost have to whisper it as well:

Actually, I’m lying as I’d much rather shout it to your face (and perhaps apologize at the same time for shouting) and just say “Hey, that’s the way it is.

I see and recognize patterns in everything that I do. It took me a long time to figure out that most people do not. Neurotypicals categorically do not see patterns in everything. At one point I was even told that I shouldn’t see patterns in everything. Boy, was that idiot of a teacher wrong.

The first time I remember noticing this different perspective was when I was very, very young. I’m sure it’s actually the way in which I learned things, but my memory doesn’t seem to recollect being 1 or 2 years old. But it must have been closer to 4 or 5 when I began being able to file those experiences in a way that could be recalled much later, like right at this very moment.

I began to see triangles, everywhere. Triangles. Triangles. Triangles. This was especially prevalent on the floor where I had to spend much of my time staring so I wouldn’t fall down. I couldn’t stop seeing triangles in the patterns of stone or carpet or whatever other material was currently present. I have no idea how it started but I began having an incredible fear about it, often stepping around to “avoid” the triangles.

The problem was that they were everywhere and most of the pathways and walkways had a pattern to begin with (to save cost or to perhaps provide some unnecessary aesthetic that no one truly appreciates) and so I was in constant fear of “stepping on” one of these triangles. My parents naturally realized very quickly that I had to skip and jump here and there in my normal gait and asked me why:

I see triangles.

Is all I could really answer at the time. Needless to say, I had discovered very intimately something that made me, me.

Later on I realized that this could be an incredibly fun game – it was around the time that I was introduced to Super Mario for the NES and the fact that 99% of that game is jumping around, either hitting blocks to gain power-ups, jumping on the heads of mushroom-like creatures interested in slaying you (i.e. Goombas), or jumping over obstacles and avoiding insta-death hot lava, I realized that life could also be very much a “game,” especially the things on the ground.

I became obsessed with the “lava jumping” especially, crafting intricate and complex scenarios in my brain to avoid said lava pits, which apparently were everywhere. The sidewalk, the house, the grocery store’s parking, in the grocery store, in the grocery store’s bathroom (you get the point). Sometimes this would grieve my parents and other times they were quite happy that I could so easily entertain myself.

What I didn’t realize was that seeing the world through pattern-filled glasses was, and is, one of the most significant gifts that I have. I call it a gift because it is so unique to me and to other aspies out there. It has become one of the most powerful perspectives that I have and it has served me incredibly well in the marketplace and for my own personal career.

To appreciate it though you must understand that it is first, a gift. That is the obvious first step. It is not a curse nor a disability. It is a powerful and wonderful gift.

The second is to begin to master the art of using it. Although it was something that you were given naturally it’s very much like a muscle that if you don’t use it strategically and intentionally then you may not be able to refine it and put it to even better use.

It’s liken it to working out in gym – every human being has been given biceps so that they can lift objects and control their forearms and hands and fingers. But not everyone works their biceps so that they can throw a ball accurately 23 feet into a hoop that is 18 inches in diameter and 10 feet above the ground. Although it’s worth noting that in the NBA the distance is 23.75 feet (23 feet, 9 inches, or 285 inches). However, on the baselines, with a line drawn directly from the center of the rim to the sideline, the NBA distance is 22 feet, or 264 inches. This of course is different for College and recreational leagues.

See the difference? One has intentionally built their biceps for a particular purpose and task which even further separates them from the average and common man. An aspie is naturally predisposed to be awesome in pattern-discovery, but I discovered that I could be more than just awesome, I could be unicorn-like, mythical. But only if I practiced.

How this applies in my specific world is that I’ve been able to find or create solutions in what some would classify as “different” ways. I love marrying an engineering problem with a liberal arts solution. In fact, my ability to find patterns in completely disparate environments or market segments has been a well-rewarded tradecraft.

For example, an software and engineering problem of building a system to classify, manage, and share data may actually be best implemented as a photographic-based mobile application on the iPhone instead of a typical project management solution. I am compensated well to find these awkward and not-so-obvious solutions either in a consulting role or I create value for myself and the companies that I manage by building it ourselves.

The power of pattern identification, discovery, and then implementation and execution cannot be understated and an aspie speaks that language fluently.

I wrote a more recent post re: triangles and the number 3 here:

This is fun because I have taken the foundation that I was aware of 8+ years ago and have done precisely what I thought I should do: Practice.

The result is a workflow and a system of doing “work” that is exceptionally high-value and maximizes most of my natural skills and abilities to their utmost. And even as recent as the last few years things have really turned-up a notch as the amount of clarity that I have in and around my life is at an all-time-high.

I like where things are headed.