The noise overhead was deafening. I had relocated to the basement as the roofers tore off old and added new. Because of schedule delays, the roofing project careened into a day when I was scheduled to present virtually. 

Chaos and noise surrounded me.

Knowing I needed to be attentive, I grabbed my earbuds and plugged in. On screen, I had the appearance of an individual you would see on a stage giving a keynote. I smiled to myself when I looked down to see on my feet my favorite pair of slippers.

As I was being introduced, I moved in my chair. Suddenly, electrical current was coursing into my ears. I am live now to the audience. I must keep from wincing on camera. I jump into my presentation, excited to be with the audience.  

Yet with each movement of my legs, my ears were being shocked. Being of fast deduction, I assessed that my rubber-soled slippers were conducting energy. I decide not to move. 

The challenge is my presentation is on camera for the next 90 minutes. If I move, I am shocked. If I do not move, I am not shocked. Easy answer, do not move. I muse to myself that I now have greater understanding what a dog feels like with a newly installed invisible electric fence. 

I finish the presentation and let out an audible sigh and remove my earbuds. Much later, after posting on social media about my day, the question was asked, “Why did you not remove your slippers?” Here is where you envision a slapping of the head emoji. 

Why did I not remove my slippers? Some might say I had psychological myopia. Hsee and colleagues define psychological myopia as the tendency in decision-making to focus on information immediately related to current judgment, ignoring other, less prominent pieces of information. They went on to say, because we as human beings, often ignore pieces of information in decision-making processes, it makes us think shortsightedly.  

Being electrocuted in one’s ears would make you think that would be enough of a catalyst to remove the slippers. But it was not. My focal point was the presentation, and I ignored the most obvious piece of information before me. I kept my eyes on the short term and powered through it. 

Think for a moment: What are you powering through? The pandemic maybe? Do you have metaphorical slippers that you are failing to remove? Now is the time to look beyond the immediate. Step away from the pain and look to the future. The world we knew before the pandemic has been permanently changed. Altered in such a way that while we must respond to now, we must plan for the what and the how of what is forthcoming.

Dwight D. Eisenhower is quoted saying, “Neither a wise man nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him.”  

He said it well, but I would like to offer you this: “Neither a wise individual nor a brave one keeps the slippers on when clearly the need for removal outweighs the need to keep them on.”

 You may feel that you are doing all that you can do right now. That thinking is your metaphorical pair of slippers keeping you in the pain of now. There is a future ahead of you. Now is the time to plan for it and move toward it. Remove the slippers!

Martie L. Moore, MAOM, RN, CPHQ, has been an executive healthcare leader for more than 20 years. She has served on advisory boards for the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel and the American Nurses Association, and she currently serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board at the University of Central Florida College of Nursing and Sigma. She recently was honored by Saint’s Martin’s University with an honorary doctorate degree for her service and accomplishments in advancing healthcare.