Sunday, November 27, 2005

What is a 2 by 2?

A 2 by 2, also called a 2x2, is a graphical picture that shows how similar items are related. The reason it is called a 2 by 2 is because there are 2 primary factors being compared against each other. For example, you might have seen a 2 x 2 at the doctor’s office that charts height versus weight.

In this chart, the vertical axis is labeled “Height”, and the horizontal axis is labeled “Weight”. For any combination of height and weight, you can put an exact point on the chart:

Where do you fit in this picture?

Another example of a 2 by 2 could compare different professions by how much money each makes versus how much free time they have. Here things can start to get interesting. Unless you are one of those who “lives to work”, one of your goals might be to work less and get paid more. Or at least make more money for an equivalent amount of work.

The funny thing about making a 2 by 2 is that the results are usually pretty obvious, but usually you need to actually see the picture before you can really appreciate how things relate to each other.

Each 2 by 2 can be divided into 4 quadrants. This allows you to organize the different points on the picture into like groups. For example, you could name the group of careers that are high in salary and high in free time as the “Stars”, while you could name the group that is low in salary and high in free time as the “Slackers”. I might name the other quadrants as the “Movers & Shakers” and the “Worker Bees”.

At the center of each 2 by 2 is a unique spot called the “control point”. This is where the 4 quadrants all intersect. The control point is special because of its complete averageness. In the work vs. free time chart, the control point is represented by the Teacher.

Taken together, you can understand the simplicity and power of looking at life from a 2 by 2 perspective. In most cases, the goal is “up and to the right”!


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