As a data scientist, it is my job to know about the future and to be right about it 100% of the time.
My daily task revolves around shifting through a significant amount of data that I collected, before coming up with conclusions to recommend my clients. These are the people who put their trust on my data processing. So yes, it is a very stressful job.
It gets even more stressful since there’s not much recognition on accurate recommendations. Yet, it is when I stumble that they remember it the most. Over time, I find myself striving to be a perfectionist, trying to map the future which in reality I realize I have zero control over.
Despite the absurdity of it all, I still try to double down my preparation by constantly updating myself with trends, recent news, data and everything in between.
When people that I follow on Twitter recommended that I watch this Netflix movie, naturally I got curious. My interest piqued when a few of them could relate to my situation and mentioned that it could be a movie to learn from. One hour and twenty minutes later, I seemed to have found a new obsession with the star of the show: an octopus.
Getting Up Close & Personal WithAn Octopus
Like most animals, octopuses are living in an increasingly complex environment that changes daily. Exposed without any shells as protection, they must use their intelligence along with the liquid body form to ward off predators and cover weakness.
As #SelfLearners with no one to depend on, octopuses learn to use their weaknesses to an advantage. Having no shell, no vertebrae, no muscle, they can comfortably fit into the weirdest places, nooks and crannies. They cunningly hide in the face of a threat, changing the color of their skin or camouflaging instead of hiding behind stones.
For octopuses, the body is the brain and vice versa. Each part represents a whole and somehow this redundancy creates a wonderful balance of synergy. They are far from fragile, in fact they are a highly functioning animal with amazing abilities unknown to many.
To name a few that I personally found very interesting are:
Their ability to control all tentacles separately
Their 360 degree eyesight allowing them to scan their environment in one blink
What powerful deep divers they are
Their mathematical skills and resourcefulness. For example, do you know that an octopus could use a stick they found on the ocean floor to break open a prawn’s defense? That’s some serious logic work!
Learning Human Values From ‘My Octopus Teacher’
All animals have their own survival mechanism, and octopuses indeed possess some of the coolest ones of all. Like reptiles, octopuses have limb regeneration ability. While they are not the only animals with this power, it’s the idea of reinvention that really struck me the most.
An octopus can intentionally destroy or reset itself on a regular basis, because for it to kill off a certain part is necessary for growth. For them to do this, it’s similar to finding a new purpose and avoiding complacency in pursuit of a better version of oneself. True, they may be doing this to survive but in the human sense, this is parallel as to how we should also let go of things that are weighing us down in order to move forward.
Octopuses are also known to take time to rest and reflect, allowing them to have razor-sharp focus as a part of their animal instinct. Similar to humans, everyone needs quiet time and to recharge if we desire to function better. It’s yet another simple fact that so many of us lose focus on, especially in today’s hustle culture where rest somehow equates to laziness.
Last but not least, octopuses genetically must die to give birth to their offspring. Well luckily this does not happen to us humans, yet in the metaphorical sense I relate a lot to this situation. As a parent myself, I learned to come to terms with certain sacrifices I’ve made. But somehow through this movie, I feel that it does not have to be viewed as a death or an end of myself, but rather how now my values grow and build through my child - just like how octopuses do it.
Final Personal Takeaways
The philosophy of this amazing animal leaves me with a lot to ponder, especially when it comes to my daily job as a data scientist. It’s a great reminder for me to feel “enough” and not to focus on what I still lack or even when my clients disapprove of my work.
It’s also a reminder for me to start embracing my weakness and my limit. I feel like it’s very easy to lose oneself in the mundanity of daily task, so it’s very important to continue to figure out my own novel approach to problem solving or something that others overlook.
I highly recommend this movie to everyone who needs a little boost, just so you know that failure is a part of our human lives and sometimes the best we can do, is to keep adapting and learning for new discoveries.
And if we are smart enough, we may even find joy in all life’s failures. That is perhaps the definition of victory we all can use by the end of the day.