7.5.10

ACTION - ADEQUACY



ac·tion 
n.
1. The state or process of acting or doing
2. Something done or accomplished; a deed
3. Organized activity to accomplish an objective
4. The causation of change by the exertion of power or a natural process
5. A movement or a series of movements, as of an actor.
6. Manner of movement
7. Habitual or vigorous activity; energy
8. Behavior or conduct. Often used in the plural.

ad·e·qua·cy 
n.
1. The quality of being able to meet a need satisfactorily

I found this bracelet (and the dress and shoes) at the thrift store yesterday and the first thing I noticed was the engraving on each side. I put it on but could not get it off.  I wore it while I shopped and kept thinking the words to myself. It is really well worn, very old, and the engraving looks like it was done by hand with tools, very deliberate, but with uneven depths and slightly off lines.  It occurred to me that this bracelet must have meant a lot to the previous owner, but what did it mean exactly?  Only Act as much as you must to obtain Adequacy?  Action is necessary for Adequacy? 

Adequacy does not imply over and above achievement, or even a really good job, it is just satisfaction.  Its like getting a C.  I thought about this all day yesterday.  I eventually figured out how to work the latch, but I knew I was just supposed to have this thing, this message.  Satisfaction is wonderful and really all I need.  In school I always had straight A's though.  I was even nominated for valedictorian.  I didn't get it.  I wasn't quite as good as the other.  Back then that actually bothered me. I tired so hard to get 100% on everything and for what? Second Place.  Don't get me wrong, it is very satisfying to get 100% or an A but isn't that mostly about my ego?  I know I have definitely relaxed since college.  I feel I have slowly been realizing that satisfaction can be found way below perfection level.  And what is perfection level anyway? Perfect only exists in numbers right? Otherwise it is just a perception that is subject to external variables and standards.  It is subjective not objective. Not measurable.  

So, would someone wear a bracelet (or give a bracelet) that basically serves as a reminder that just simply satisfaction is adequate and that you only have to act as much as is necessary to achieve it?  Do you think that is what it means?  Maybe I am just getting lazier and wish to only put as much effort in as I absolutely need to get by adequately.  Not very ambitious, but I am happy with adequacy right now.


{EDIT: This was a comment left by George: 
"I think perhaps they are motivational - adequacy is not a particularly positive word - and if they are on opposite sides, (which they are, I think) I think it's setting up a contrast - you see the word adequacy, turn the bracelet over and see the word 'action' - reminding you that the only way to surpass adequacy is to do something about it, to act (above and beyond) the level of adequacy. 

Does anyone else understand what I mean? It kind of sets up a dichotomy."}



{EDIT:  merl said...
I agree with George in the fact that 'adequate' does not usually have a positive connotation. If you were to describe something as adequate, I could see a shrug accompanying it.. as if to say well, "it'll do." However, when you actually read, and dissect the definition, satisfaction would imply that you are quite pleased with the results, something adequate doesn't quite convey. Perhaps it's how the word has been used that it has picked up this sub par meaning? People only using it to describe something that meets a certain level or standard, but doesn't exceed expectations..
I can understand your reference to perfection in school being about numbers.. but in the real life, I think it has different meanings for different people. It has a lot to do with basic skill levels (someone more skillful at a certain task could achieve a higher level of 'perfection' versus someone not as able) and also with that individuals standards. I don't necessarily think it's unattainable, or that people shouldn't try their best at whatever they set their mind to every day, but I think some people are prone to striving constantly for perfection, and since they are so blindly driven, they lose the sense of satisfaction that should accompany a job well done.
Personally, I take from this bracelet with its possible inspirational message, that I should strive to achieve things that I'm not only satisfied with, but also am proud of.}

dress: thrifted
blazer: vintage gift
shoes: vintage thrifted
bracelet: vintage thrifted
hat: Dockers
ring: street vendor in Honduras

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

I like the quote " The perfect is the enemy of the good".

amanda said...

i have been thinking about this for about 10 minutes just staring at your page and i don't really know what it means. we should all be satisfied with the effort we put into things and the outcome of our actions. so maybe that is what it means. no one can be perfect, it's just not possible and there's no reason to be upset that we can't reach perfection. and for the most part, any action is more adequate than inaction! for the most part, i am sure i don't make any sense. so i'll just say you look lovely in that dress. orange is a great color for you. and that ring is so cool.

c.a. Marks said...

Love the shoes. Love the dress. Awesome. Where do you find all of your fabulous things?

gina said...

I love the structured professional jacket with the flowy dress and summery hat and shoes. Very pretty ring.

The words on the bracelet are a bit puzzling. I don't know what to make of it.

Bess Seidler said...

I like this post....
I'm that girl in college who won't settle for anything less than an A... and it is more tiring than enjoyable.

You offer good advice :)

George said...

I think perhaps they are motivational - adequacy is not a particularly positive word - and if they are on opposite sides, (which they are, I think) I think it's setting up a contrast - you see the word adequacy, turn the bracelet over and see the word 'action' - reminding you that the only way to surpass adequacy is to do something about it, to act (above and beyond) the level of adequacy.

Does anyone else understand what I mean? It kind of sets up a dichotomy.

Kaitlyn Aliano said...

That purse is gorgeous. So elegant.

merl said...

I agree with George in the fact that 'adequate' does not usually have a positive connotation. If you were to describe something as adequate, I could see a shrug accompanying it.. as if to say well, "it'll do." However, when you actually read, and dissect the definition, satisfaction would imply that you are quite pleased with the results, something adequate doesn't quite convey. Perhaps it's how the word has been used that it has picked up this sub par meaning? People only using it to describe something that meets a certain level or standard, but doesn't exceed expectations..
I can understand your reference to perfection in school being about numbers.. but in the real life, I think it has different meanings for different people. It has a lot to do with basic skill levels (someone more skillful at a certain task could achieve a higher level of 'perfection' versus someone not as able) and also with that individuals standards. I don't necessarily think it's unattainable, or that people shouldn't try their best at whatever they set their mind to every day, but I think some people are prone to striving constantly for perfection, and since they are so blindly driven, they lose the sense of satisfaction that should accompany a job well done.
Personally, I take from this bracelet with its possible inspirational message, that I should strive to achieve things that I'm not only satisfied with, but also am proud of.

ACupOfJenn said...

LOVELY! I love the dress! Those bracelets are pretty snazzy as well

http://acupofjenn.blogspot.com

Le Petit said...

Very intriguing thoughts! I love your writing & your clothes. Brilliant! I've never been good at thrifting--picking out items that will actually work for me or with something else I own--it's an art for sure! I'm learning from you blog & your style. Thanks!

http://lepetitstyle.blogspot.com

Little Ocean Annie said...

You're so beautiful, Christina! I love reading your words!
I really think that a huge part of having satisfaction is lowering your standards. I know that sounds negative and like a cop out, but it's not. I think people's standards of perfection or happiness tend to be too high, too specific, and, sometimes, not based on real life but on movies or stories they've read! In love, family, and life in general, nothing is ever going to meet our expectations if we keep raising them! that's only setting ourselves up for disappointment.

Amanda said...

I love your blog and your style. I have a fashion blog too, I would love to know what you think.

Lea's Suitcase said...

Holy Burnt Orange... i'm into it.

Anonymous said...

"Adequate" comes from the Latin verb "adequaere", which means "to make equal to" (5 semesters of Latin has forced me into this habit, sometimes deepening my understanding of the English language, but sometimes just creating more confusion.)

But it is interesting when you mention almost making valedictorian and you use the phrase "not quite as good as the other". You remember the one that beat you, with a feeling of being perhaps slightly inferior, or not equal.

Perhaps it's a reminder that we shouldn't measure our own actions in comparison to others. That the merit of our actions is subjective and relative and all of that, and that we shouldn't judge ourselves based on the achievments of someone else. Only when you realize that the success of your own actions is relative, will you really feel "equal" with other successful people. Otherwise when you compare your actions to theirs, you run the risk of feeling inferior.

Haha. Re-reading that, I'm not totally sure how much sense it makes.

Fay said...

Hiya!
i love your blog, and what you wear!
Your on my blogroll :))
If you have a minute, i hope you can check out my blog :)
www.fayfriscolife.blogspot.com
xx

Sara Lynn said...

I think of adequate as "That'll do". I guess I really haven't stopped to think about it much...anywho, I love that ring!

BikeWorkPlay said...

You are wearing a RED DRESS! haha, you helped me style mine for a wedding :) You look great! Red IS good on you.

Alice In Fashionland said...

The red dress looks stunning on you!

I like the idea to wear the bracelet to remind yourself that simple satisfaction is adequate. Though I do hate the word adequate, it just sounds like something isn't good enough. I suppose the wood would be a very quiet place if only the best birds sang!

Kimberellie said...

I think George might be right on the actual meaning of this bracelet. But I like your take on it better. So often in life I find myself striving for perfection too. But, really, what IS perfection if not satisfaction?

ps. you look hot.

Leproust Vintage said...

I think that I could sit down for a cup of coffee and chat with you for about 24 hours straight! I adore the insight and depth that you bring to your blog. This bracelet is so incredibly interesting. I think it is too difficult to determine what it meant to the owner (though it is super fun trying!) as so many people have interpreted the message so many different ways. I think the message is in the eye of the beholder, though I am sure the original owner or the person carving in the message had a clear intention behind it. I have tried to determine what it means to me, and I would like to be adequate with so many things in my life, however I have bad issues with perfectionism (bad as in the really interfere with how I function). For me, this bracelet would mean much the opposite of how many people would likely interpret it. I think it would serve as a reminder to take a step back from my obsessive perfectionism (the action portion) and be happy with adequacy for once. I definitely do not feel like adequacy is a bad thing at all.

I have really enjoyed reading everyone's varying interpretations! SO interesting! :)

elizabeth said...

i'm agreeing with the comments about the dichotomy in the bracelet. it's interesting... action and adequacy. maybe there is also a balance of the two. action tending towards perfectionism and adequacy tending towards being finished with things when they are good enough, not 100% right but still good. there is always a balance in these things, whether or not we know it.

p.s. i do love that dress.

Trishna said...

All I can say is you look gorgeous. I have been thinking this since the moment I saw your tiny pic on my google reader and now when I saw the full size one it has just been confirmed. :)

Corie said...

I only have one thing to say...

You are wearing a beautiful dress.

Alyssa said...

You look like a lovely lady of wide open spaces. :]

Anonymous said...

This article was extremely interesting.

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