Many people have told me that I am the computer-whisperer. As someone who often has become the “go-to” person among my immediate and extended family as well as my friends and co-workers, when there is a computer problem that people can’t solve, they usually call me. Sometimes it’s a computer, sometimes it’s a phone or tablet – but rest assured, they can call me and I’ll do one of three things.
1) The minute I get on the phone with them or show up at their computer, it will start working miraculously… like the computer knew I was coming and went, “oh, crap! He’s coming we better start working or he’s going to start poking around in our BIOS.”
2) I’ll fix it – this usually comes from troubleshooting the problem using my experience ranging all the way back to my pre-teen years where I would order computer parts and build computers in my basement. I speak the language of computers and we have a relationship of mutual respect – they help me and in turn, I keep them running well. Can I explain how I fix things? No, I just tinker until something works.
3) It’s something beyond my expertise and I simply give up and either suggest they contact someone smarter than me or have the device replaced – this is rare.
One thing I’ve learned in all these years of tinkering with computers and devices, is that the very first thing you can do to troubleshoot nearly any problem is to reboot. What does a reboot do? It starts from fresh, re-loads all the drivers for each device and gives a clean start. Then if we still see an issue at least we know there isn’t something external effecting it and it becomes easier to diagnose the issue.
Rebooting a computer needs to be done from time to time because as we open programs, update software, download new programs, and simply use the computer – over time it becomes a little bogged-down so having a clean restart can drop the clutter and get you back to a fresh state where your computer can operate as well as it was intended to.
If this doesn’t work, sometimes you need to do what is called a clean re-install. This involves deleting EVERYTHING currently installed on the computer and starting from zero – a fresh install of the latest operating system then only adding back into the system the software NEEDED to operate the computer and the activities you need to do. This almost always results in a faster, more efficient computer without the junk from the past.
Is this an IT lesson? Yes and no. It’s April 5, 2020 – my 45th birthday – and I’m isolated at home on the beginning of week 4 of being “trapped” at home while we try to collectively minimize the impact of the first Global Pandemic we have seen since H1N1 in 2009. But this one seems to be much worse – or perhaps we are taking more drastic actions in locking down the population in order to minimize the spread of the disease. The resulting at-home isolation is creating tremendous loss of jobs, closures of businesses, and may have a significant impact on our economy in the next couple of years.
As we go through an extended period of isolation and confusion about what the future will look like for our business and our lifestyle, we should be reminded that out of every crisis comes opportunities. Many great thinkers of our time have said that the result of this pandemic will be many changes in the way the world operates. It may be things like we all stop shaking hands, our business operates differently , or it may change our lifestyle and help us reimagine what is important to us. One thing I can say with certainty is that if you are simply waiting for this to be over so you can get back to the same thing you’ve always been doing, you’re not only going to miss the great opportunity – you’re risking losing your business.
I believe that this could be one of the greatest opportunities we have seen in our lifetime.
Think about your life in the past 5-10 years. I know for myself, I’ve been busy! Running from one activity to the other, pushing for success, and grinding during the #hustle. I’ve been layering on strategies and concepts – tweaking ideas and trying to improve in every way. All the while, I’ve also been seeking clarity and peace – of mind. Not peace of mind… peace of my mind… peace in my mind. Trying to determine what makes me happy, what the purpose of my activities is. Maybe it’s a mid-life thing and I acknowledge that. What I do know is that this Global Pandemic couldn’t have come at a better time!
Why am I optimistic about all of this? Let’s rewind a couple of days. I was feeling cooped-up – like a prisoner at home unable to do my regular business, concerned about the financial future of my business and our family, and feeling frustrated with my lack of “normal” routine. Something clicked – as often will just before a great epiphany. I thought to myself, ‘what if the government announced that a vaccine has been found and it is readily available to everyone and that as of right now… everyone can go back to “normal”.’ What would this mean? Back to normal? Is that what I want? Normal? Do I really crave going back to the #hustle? The answer was a resounding NO!
Being forced into isolation has allowed me to contemplate the future and what I really want to be doing. It’s like I’ve been living in a house that just hasn’t been ideal now that I stop and look at it and I’ve been given the opportunity to architect and design a new house – one that has everything I need to be comfortable and happy. Don’t get me wrong, it’s going to take effort to “design a new house” but at least it will be doing something I really enjoy doing. The new house may not be much different from the current house – it’s not like my life was broken and needed fixing. It may just mean I make some rooms larger and others smaller, it may mean I change the colours to be a little more pleasing and put windows in different areas. It may mean that the new house design eliminates anything I wasn’t using in the old house and adds ONLY what I really need to enjoy myself.
So, taking my own “computer repair advice” – after numerous reboots, I’m doing a clean install of my operating system! Same person, same overall structure, but doing a clean sweep of all the habits, systems, routines, and processes in my life and ONLY adding back to my life the activities and actions that I know make me happy, provide joy, and offer fulfillment in life. What does this mean? It means that just like a computer, I plan to use this opportunity to revisit everything I do – both personally and in business, determine what brings me joy and what doesn’t, and create a new routine designed around the activities that bring me joy while committing to myself to eliminate the activities that I know don’t bring me joy.
Listening to the great thinkers and leaders in our beautiful world, I’ve learned that what keeps us motivated towards our goals is wanting or desiring that outcome over your current or alternative situations. What keeps us going is the faith that if we follow a plan there will be a wonderful reward for us in the future. This principle has been used in religion for centuries – if you are a good person you go to heaven and if you sin and don’t repent, you go to hell. I don’t consider myself religious but the psychology of this is important – millions of people act a certain way because their faith has them believe that their future will be better if they do.
I have faith. I believe! I believe that everything we desire is on the other side of discipline and that discipline is the act of doing what you know to be right even when you don’t want to do it. So if I design a life plan – like a business plan – that is full of activities that bring me joy it should be fulfilling even on a daily level. I know it won’t be easy as the things that bring me joy and the person I want to be will involve work and dedication – but I’m using this opportunity to uninstall my old operating system, install the fresh one and add on ONLY the essential parts I need to simplify, focus, and have a life full of joy.
I hope you can do this too.