The 365 Commitment

Contention Avoidance

Many people avoid contention at all costs. They will steer wide and clear of the remote possibility of conflict. They will more often than not, choose the path that has fewer thorns just, even though the path with the thorns is far shorter and more directly aimed toward the destination. This is an unconscious bias toward less conflict that guides the “instinct” of many people. My instinct says this is not the right choice, why? Well, many times it means that the choice produces conflict and that is the reason that it does not feel right. Which means that conflict avoidance is the highest priority of many decision makers. However, is that a good thing? Should conflict be the primary decision criterion?

When I was in my younger days learning about network engineering there was a concept of how to deal with contention. You see when you send a signal across a medium, the transmitting device first needs to negotiate the used of that media before sending. One path is to avoid all contention whatsoever. Meaning only one device can every communicate on the medium. This, however, is not practical. This is the more expensive path. True, potentially faster and easier to communicate, but expensive because you need a dedicated media for each transmitting device. Imagine your home if every device needed a dedicated cable, dedicated wireless access point, dedicated connection to the Internet. Sure, faster, perhaps simpler to setup, but expensive and not practical at all. So we live in a world where network devices have to share a common media and therefore have to contend and negotiate. Over the years there was a back and forth. Protocols were created that would use polling methods, token passing and other ideas for avoiding contention. Eventually we settled on a free for all methodology that limited the number of machines that could share the media, but was easier and faster to setup. In short, some amount of contention was determined to be a good thing.

So if you are a person that favors contention avoidance in your approach in life, then you are not going to instinctively settle on the correct choices. You will favor weaker, more expensive choices rather than choices with the balance between practicality, effectiveness, and ease of implementation.

Guy Reams

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 year ago

Hmmm avoiding contention is my middle name…
Did you write this for me????


Share the Post:

Recent Blogs

Comparison Game

Just thinking about common issues that plague our mental states. One of them is the comparison game. Similar to the

Read More
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x