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Gadget Invasion: Have they taken over our thinking abilities?

April 23, 2013

Sometimes I sit back and wonder how we used to survive without calculators, mobile phones (now upgraded to smartphones), Internet and most importantly, Google! I don’t know how we did it then but if we were taken back to those days, I wonder how many of us would still be sane. We have gotten so much used to letting gadgets “think” for us in the name of working smart that most of us have forgotten basics. I remember we used to do mental sums but nowadays, I’m not sure I’d still get those awards I used to get when I was in school; my brain has become somehow lazy. In fact, what worries me most is not even my generation or myself; my greatest concern is the generation that is in primary school right now. With the introduction of calculators and computers, will they ever get to learn things the hard way (that was the best way) like we did? That’s a story for another day.

Like I was saying, I can’t begin to understand how we survived without these vital "survival tools" as mentioned above. I specifically wonder how we would get to know the things we do if it wasn’t for Google. Google has become such a vital source of information that anytime someone hits a mental block or simply doesn’t know much about a certain topic, the first source of information is likely to be Google. The flip side of this is that whereas previously people used to do genuine researches on topics, now they just copy and paste what they find on Google, hence the common crime of plagiarism.

Anyway, last week I found myself a partaker of Google content after I upgraded my MacBook Pro’s Operating System (OS) from Snow Leopard to Mountain Lion. What I had not realized before upgrading the OS is that there were some applications I use on a daily basis that I could not continue using on the new OS. This proved to be a bit of a challenge because I really needed to have them functioning again, hence my resulting to consult Google. I have to admit that it took me four frustrating days to finally get a solution that helped me circumvent my challenge, a solution I would not have found had it not been for Google. Having gone through all that forced “research” now I can help anyone else who finds himself/herself in the same fix I found myself in after upgrading my OS.

Something else I’d like to point out is that while I was doing my research, I discovered that I was not the only person who had encountered that same challenge I was Googling about. There were pages and pages of similar complaints and queries, which gave me some kind of reassurance that I was not that daft after all, and if I was, then I was not alone in my daftness. I also discovered many other things I would not have discovered had I not gone in pursuit of information. Whereas I was looking for information on just one area, I ended up getting a lot more that I actually implemented. I even found out an interesting brain organizer called WorkFlowy; you can Google it sometime when you have time and see what it can do for you. I’m now using it and I’m so loving it.

This whole Googling experience is the basis of my article today. Like I have mentioned above, I realized while I was looking for information that I was not the only person who was suffering, or who has suffered this setback. Millions of other users in different parts of the world have suffered the same and it was as a result of their suffering that I was able to get a solution. Most of them went on the net and posted step-by-step instructions on how to circumvent the challenge in question, and that is how I got help.

Similarly, in life, whenever we are going through a trying situation or a challenging time we tend to think that the situation is unique to us. The truth is, nothing you are going through today is new to this universe. Everything has happened to someone else somewhere else sometime else. The only difference is that you are the one going through it now. If you were to put up a query on the net asking all those who are going through the same situation to get in touch with you, I have a feeling you would be overwhelmed to realize that millions of other people are going through that same exact thing at the very same time as you.

If you got fired today, trust me someone else somewhere else also got fired today. If you got mugged by thugs in Dar es salaam’s Kariakoo today, don’t be surprised to hear that someone else got mugged in Nairobi’s Kariakoo today as well. If you are going through a crappy marriage or relationship, maybe your neighbor is going through worse but you would not know because (s)he does not talk about it. If your boss is one of those you would like to flush in the toilet, someone else is probably thinking of how to drown his/hers in the sea. What I’m trying to say is, no challenge is unique to you; no challenge was fashioned just for you and with you in mind; someone somewhere else is going through the same but you wouldn’t know because they have not spoken about it and you don't know who they are.

My question to you is, how do you handle the challenges that come your way? Do you just sit there and feel sorry for yourself, or do you do something about them? Whereas I agree with you 100% that it is a sad thing when someone goes through a tough and challenging time, I think the saddest part of it all is if the person does not learn a thing or two from that experience. Like I mentioned above, in my frustration and researching, I discovered some things that I have now implemented as part of my business tools and I must admit I am loving them. Though it took me four days to get my solution, I can say they were not wasted days; I gained much more than I had sent out to look for. My challenge came in as a blessing in disguise.

Regardless of whatever you are going through right now, you can choose to look at it as a blessing in disguise too. While you are looking for answers and solutions to your challenge, be open to unexpected discoveries that could catapult your life to another level you had never even thought possible. Treat those challenges as a learning field.

I leave you with the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson who once said: “Bad times have a scientific value. These are occasions a good learner would not miss.”

Maintain a positive mental attitude this week and turn all your trials into triumphs.

Wishing you a triumphant week!

PS: Article published in Tanzania's Guardian on Sunday on the 21st of April, 2013, under my weekly column "Thoughts in Words"

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