I love technology.
I love youthful, or new, ideas and ways of interpreting the world. I love disruption. I think disruption is necessary for advancement and sustainability.
Sustainability is a funny word. It seems to mean two things: to keep what is, while adapting to new circumstances, situations, and events. Sustain AND grow (?)
Sweet spot. A balance. Satisfied with what is, while desiring new or different outcomes. More.
My path to this current state of adoration for digital technology was certainly not the most direct route. Technology was new as I was ‘coming of age’. Just like anything new, when you avoid it, it doesn’t seem to go anywhere. It grows. Technology grew fast. The momentum was a force. Moving in opposition to any powerful force doesn’t feel so good.
I created a habit early on when I started paying Derek Snyder to write essays for me in Science Fiction and Fantasy – if I was not interested, there was another way. Anything new – an idea, a way of thinking, an opportunity. Any potential challenge that I didn’t find fun or interesting, I resisted.
I resisted technology.
I resisted having a cell phone until I moved to California at age 22. My parents got one for me to use in case of emergency. I resisted email as a norm until I got the message at age 30 that all teachers were to check their email daily. I’m not sure what my attitude was about email, but I can guarantee that I wasn’t checking it for anything other than communication with friends who no longer lived nearby. At 32, a male friend suggested I text as a response to me complaining that he didn’t call me enough. I didn’t listen when first exposed to google docs around 36. I didn’t pay attention when coworkers started buying iphones and using apps. It was all too confusing and made my brain hurt. I resisted everything new that felt hard or uncomfortable, and when forced to learn it, I complained. As if complaining could keep me from having to move toward it.
I could cite evidence to the contrary when it came to things that motivated me. For example, when I was motivated to blog is when I learned google docs. When I was motivated to learn everything I could about mindfulness is when I became obsessed with the tech industry. Recently, I heard motivation defined as completing the cycle of beginning, sustaining effort, and completing a task or a goal. We can be motivated by lots of things: power, recognition, attainment of a thing or another person, a desirable feeling. The curious thing about motivation is to compare it to inspiration. Motivation being conditional. Inspiration being unconditional.
Resistance can be a bitch. The sensation of resistance is a constant. To live is to have a constant flow of circumstances, situations, and events that create the perception of a problem. If we tell a story about the problem as a problem – we get stuck in the problem. For something to considered a problem, there must be a solution. We get to choose what we focus on. We also get to choose how we want to show up and express ourselves – if we derive meaning from external conditions, or from inspiration – an internal state of being.
We tell a story about our experience of resistance, or discomfort. When we notice resistance, we make a choice. We can be curious about it, and move in the direction of it…or we can resist it. When we resist, we close ourselves off to new possibilities and outcomes. We find ourselves arguing, complaining, sleeping, eating – taking that ‘edge’ off. What if that edge has something for us?
I came up with three skills that can help navigate the experience of resistance. Resistance is not bad. Resistance is an indicator of something. Resistance has a message. The way to discover its meaning is to move toward it. The first step is to recognize it. Discomfort. The next step is to choose to move toward it. I call this onboard thinking: what can you get onboard with? The third step is to choose to be curious. When we choose to be curious about our response to new ideas, opportunities, or ways of thinking, we have entered into our natural ability to problem solve.