Daily Insight | OBVIOUS Part 1

“Success is the study of the OBVIOUS. We all need to take Obvious 101 & 202 in school. It is the starting point. Start with the OBVIOUS. It will save you a lot of time…” — Jim Rohn

I grew up in the drywall industry, but changed at age twenty to a profession in the mechanical engineering field. While in the drywall industry I had learned to improvise, which proved to be a great tool in the mechanical engineering field as well. What I didn’t learn in the drywall field and was not taught until going to work for my father in law however, was the Rule of the Obvious. I suppose that is why Jim Rohn said what he said: “Success is the Study of the OBVIOUS!” Unfortunately, it seems many overlook the obvious. The unfortunate and ultimate result of overlooking the obvious is failure.…”

I have also found something else to be true: it seems the more educated one becomes the more one tends to overlook the obvious. While in the employ of my father in law, working in the Testing, Analysis and Balancing of Heating, Ventilating & Air Conditioning Systems, I learned about Obvious 101. My father in law used to say to me all the time, “You are too close to the situation and can’t see the forest for the trees.” He used to say it isn’t the difficult thing for which you are looking that you will find the problem. You will most often find what you are looking for is almost always the simplest, easiest or most obvious thing. He was right ninety nine percent of the time.

Many years ago I received a call from a friend in the Army Corps of Engineers, asking me to help on a project he had become aware of and had recommended my expertise. He said if I agreed to accept, I would then receive a call asking me for the cost of what it would take for me to visit this job site and figure out why a certain fan wasn’t performing at the capacity for which it was designed. At that time, I had been providing training courses for the Army Corps of Engineers for many years previous to this call and thus this engineer having sat through my classes, thought I might be able to help.

During the call with the client, I learned the type of fan as well as the fact the fan was performing at only 40% of the rated capacity. I learned many other relevant facts about the situation with regard to the fan and its components from a fax received providing this info. Keep in mind this was well before emails and scanning in info. The fax also showed a drawing of the ductwork and how it was connected to the fan. Based on what I saw there was nothing to indicate what might be or cause the problem. Although many experiences came to mind, I decided not to dwell or give too much thought to it so as not to prejudge the situation and thus be biased before doing my own investigation. Besides, I had been told many “EXPERTS” had been on the project to test and evaluate the situation yet; no one had been able to find out why the fan was not performing. The experts included the original design mechanical engineer and an additional Test & Balance firm as well as the manufacturer; the installing mechanical contractor; the controls contractor and an outside service company. Out of all of these, no one had been able to identify the problem.

Upon arrival I found each and every one who had previously been involved in trying to solve this mystery waiting for me, the “supposed expert” to show up. It is a creepy feeling to be “felt up” by the glaring looks of those who are analyzing you and it was actually quite intimidating. It appeared they must have set up a time for everyone to meet prior to my arrival for they were all there waiting on me and I was five minutes early. I asked questions of each and every person who had worked on this fan as to what they did and what they thought. I noted their comments as I moved from one to the next. I then moved on to analyze the fan for myself.

The first thing I noticed was there were no “correct” static pressure holes drilled at the appropriate locations to factually determine the proper operating data of the fan. Although there were sufficient traverse holes to take velocity readings of the air flow for the size of duct, I was not sure of their placement as I did not believe these would provide the correct velocity readings and thus provide the data, which could then be convert to the correct air flow. With this information I could determine at what level the fan was in fact performing. Obtaining the correct data is the only way to know what is truly going on with any piece of equipment as this is the only way one can plot the performance of the fan on a fan curve.

Too often many people feel that simply having a lot of acquired data is all that is necessary and that the effort put into obtaining this data is what is important, but this is not true. Yes, effort is important, but the information gleaned by the effort is what will decide on failure or success. This same type of direction is also taken in life and one either soon or eventually finds this method of operation is not the best for in almost every case this will lead one to failure. The reason is it isn’t the amount of information one has as much as the correct information. Going through the motions gathering information is a worthless effort unless the information is correct and of use in your life or situation.

In this situation, their information was not correct. There were many people and companies that had gathered a lot of information, but that information did not provide the answers needed to solve the problem. Mine would be. My information, which came from the OBVIOUS, would provide the solution, but that will be discussed next week.

Best of LUCK as you
Labor Under Correct Knowledge…


Rick Cox