As a converted geek I’m always keen on keeping my digital tools updated. You know the drill: backups and upgrades, cleaning up unneeded files and keep it slim. I’m almost always up to date and thoroughly enjoy it. Oh, the secret bliss of running the latest version of my operating system! The subtle satisfaction of watching how smoothly my laptop makes its apps literally flying over the carefully chosen desktop background image!
Alas, that’s not always the case with my real self. Unfortunately, my mental operating system is moreÂ than often obsolete. I sometimes feel like I lack some crucial features or don’t know how to handle specific events. In some specific cases, this unstable behavior goes for years. I run into the same patterns, like hitting the same keyboard combination, and always get the same result: a frozen screen, for instance. Or, if it’s a major crisis, even a “blue screen of death”, followed by a brutal reboot.
I’m sure you’ve been there too. We all did. This happens because we’re not updated to our latest version of ourselves. We didn’t upgrade. We’re still running an old and clumsy command line interface, we can’t address more physical memory to incorporate new experiences and we really don’t know how to handle new devices in our life, because we’re missing some important drivers.
Joke aside, our behavior as human beings can be comfortably described as an operating system metaphor. Introducing the converted geek 5 steps guide to upgrade to your best version of yourself:
1. Balance Your Core Features
Any operating system has a set of core features. Any human being has a unique set of qualities. Be sure to keep a close balance between all parts. An equilibrium in motion. Too much of something will make the rest seem unfit. An imbalanced structure of qualities will make your mental operating system crash without warning on the weak spots.
For example, some operating systems are better at networking, but they really suck at graphics. Some other are good at office productivity but they lack a proper driver integration and so on. What makes your presence so valuable is not personal excellence on a single topic, but rather a stable load under high pressure. A well balanced mix of qualities.
2. Defrag Your Mind
We have a virtually unlimited capacity of information storage. What makes us feel like we don’t is the narrow channel used to access it. Our conscious mind can process only 5-7 stimuli form the environment, but the unconscious mind is capable of much more. It’s like a having huge, actually infinite, hard-drive but a very slow access protocol to it.
Until we will be able to broaden this channel, we can try to improve some other parts. We can take care of our mental clutter by defragmenting it every now and then. GTD addicted will call this mental defragmentation “emptying the mind” while other people may simply call it meditation. While even others call it: “keep my things in good order”.
Read more about how to defrag your mind in 5 easy steps.
3. Update Your Drivers
Every now and then we attach some new piece of hardware to our computers. Like a printer or a nice camera. But this new equipment will not function unless there is a driver, a way to communicate with the computer operating system. This is exactly what happens when we incorporate something new in our lives: from a new car to a new relationship or job.
Unless we will strive to update our drivers to really understand how to talk with those new entities, we will not function properly. We may look like we have a printer (or a wife, or a luxury car) attached, but it will not really work until we build a new communication protocol to it. We can’t expect to have something new in our lives without changing ourselves to fully integrate it.
Read more about how to manage and upgrade your life device drivers.
4. Stay Virus Free
If you expose your operating system to untrusted sources, you may experience a very bad situation called “virus”. These things are basically independent entities which are taking control over your system and make it their own toy. For fun or for profit. The same thing can happen to your mind. More often than you think, your mind is actually controlled by somebody else.
Staying virus free is much more difficult for your mental operating system than for your computer operating system. Especially the cleaning action is quite tedious. Sometimes, your mind will remain partially infected for ever. So, the best way to avoid a mental virus infection is prevention: trust your own mind, make your own judgment and take everything with a little bit of salt.
Read more about how to keep your mind virus free.
5. Enjoy An Unexpected Shutdown Every Now And Then
No operating system is perfect. There are (and there will always be) minor memory leaks, open loops and untested functions which will, in time, make your computer unstable. This is why is recommended to push the shutdown button every now and then, the same way you take an unexpected 15 minutes nap with the head on the desktop, when your boss is known to be in his lunch break.
At a higher level, this translates in a more relaxed way to look at the world. Keeping yourself too focused can sometimes do more harm and good. Too much tension will eventually break something around you, if not you. Cease to believe you are in control and give your powers away every once in a while. Trust that everything will be good in the end. If it’s not ok, then it is not the end.
The Undocumented Feature
Every geek knows that all operating systems have some deeply hidden treasures, also known as undocumented features. Sometimes those features are just simple Easter Eggs, plain and useless pieces of information, only hidden. But sometimes, those undocumented features are really valuable tools, precious improvements which are giving you more time and computing power.
InÂ your mental operation system, those undocumented features are in fact your personal power. Your hidden, undercover potential waiting to be unleashed. Those features are secret weapons you can use to do things nobody think you can do. It’s your identity. Your uniqueness, your singularity, your own personal gift to the world.
Nobody really knows what your undocumented feature is, except you. You are the carrier of this fantastic energy, of this unique feature which made you so necessary and needed that the world couldn’t properly function without you. That’s right, you’re here for a reason. The world called for you and you have to deliver. You really have to.
So, you’d better pull yourself together and, for starters, go find a mirror and ask this to yourself: am I really running the best version of myself? Really, really?
Translations of this post: Spanish.
Running For My Life - from zero to ultramarathoner
The spooky thing about depression is that it sneaks in. There aren’t really trumpets and loud voices announcing: “Hail, hail, this is depression entering the room, all rise!” Nope. It’s slow, silent, creepy. It doesn’t even look like depression. It starts with small isolation thoughts like: “Maybe I shouldn’t get out today, I just don’t feel like going out”. And then it does the same next day. And then the day after that and so on. And then it starts to whisper louder and louder in your ears: “Why would you go outside, you loser? Didn’t have enough yet? Want more people to make fun of how much of a big, fat loser you are?”
And then you start to breath in guilt and shame, instead of air. Every breathe you take is putting more dark thoughts into your body.
Until you get stuck. You can’t move anymore. At all.
If you want to know how I got out of this space, eventually, check out my latest book on Amazon and Kindle.