5 Things Temple Grandin Knows for Sure
2. A little autistic fixation can be helpful. When I started my career in the early '70s, no women worked in the cattle yards. The guys didn't like me being there, but I didn't pick up on the subtle social cues; what I cared about was working with the animals and studying the cattle chutes. Being autistic was an advantage, because all the hostility didn't affect me as much.
3. Engineering is easy— it's the people problems that are hard. It took a long time for me to puzzle out that an engineer could break his own company's equipment or sabotage a project because an outsider—me—had invaded his turf. Now I know that you just need to pull 'em into the project, give 'em a piece of the action.
4. When in doubt, eat the whole crow. Long ago, I made mistakes on the designs for a project I was working on; it was half my fault, half the plant's fault. I walked into the boss's office and took all the blame—I ate the whole crow, because I knew it would save the project. My attitude is: "I did something wrong. Suck it up so we can move on."
5. Animals taught me the meaning of life. In my work, you look mortality in the face. At the slaughter plants, I was there when the cattle died, and I felt so deeply that we had to give them a decent life and a painless death. But I also thought, "When it gets to be my time, will I have accomplished something of ultimate value?" That's how I define my life's purpose.
The real-life Grandin with some furry friends.
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