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84 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I DECEMBER 2019 Flexible Thinking by Joe Fjelstad, VERDANT ELECTRONICS For many people, December is a month in which to reflect on the experiences and lessons encountered and learned over the past year. As the years pass, I am increasingly thankful for the many experiences that have brought me to this point. In sitting down to collect and share my thoughts, what first came to mind was a timeless story about the value of experience. It goes something like this. A young engineer asks a mentor a question about a problem that he has been pondering for some time. The older engineer listens at- tentively and then posits a possible solution to the problem. The young engineer tries the sug- gestion, and it works the first time. He thanks the mentor for sharing this wisdom, asking, "How did you know that would work?" The older engineer responds, "From my experienc- es." The young apprentice pressed for more detail, wanting to understand how the mentor had obtained the wisdom to intuit the answer so quickly; the mentor sagely adds, "From my bad experiences." Looking back at my almost half-century of experiences, I can attest to both the validity and the constancy of this story from both ends of that humorous, but experientially, true tale. I was fortunate to have had several excellent and very experienced engineers as mentors from an early stage in my career. They were largely members of the "Greatest Generation," and many were veterans of World War II and The Value of Experience

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