That’s an interesting issue. Unfortunately, my off-the-cuff answer
is ‘experience’. I know exactly what you mean about being focused on
the work, and paying very little attention to anything else. That
can be a dangerous state for a beginner.
What I mean by experience is simply that as you learn, you must
force yourself to learn to work in ways that are automatically safe,
so that if you’re distracted, the ‘safe’ way is what you do
automatically. And much of that comes with experience. Hours and
hours of doing it the ‘right’ way when you are paying attention
will help you do it safely when you’re not. (Yes, of course, you
should always be paying perfect attention, but now that we’ve gotten
that out of the way, we can go on to deal with what the real world
is like.) Think of it as patterning. You’re trying to train
yourself, or imprint a pattern of ‘proper’ activity, so that it
Equally unfortunately, much of what drives these lessons home and
creates ‘experience’ is measured in blood, blisters, and band-aids.
I wish it weren’t, but the brutal truth is that nothing drives a
lesson home like having to sponge blood off the ceiling.
(Fortunately, that wasn’t my mistake, I just got to clean up while
everyone else ran off to the Emergency Room. For the record, do not
EVER get anywhere near a buffer with long hair loose, even if it’s
’only for a minute to touch something up’.) (Perhaps especially
when it’s ‘only for a second’.)
See what I mean? Bet you won’t ever get near a buffer with anything
dangling again, will you?
Experience is priceless, but you do pay in cash for it.