Have you ever gotten really frustrated when technology doesn’t work like it’s supposed to?
I am guessing that the above question is like asking “Have you ever seen a tree?” In other words, we all have experienced technology failure and we have all been frustrated by it.
Over the course of the last two days, I have experienced massive tech frustration. Chief among them is this blog. Since October 15, posts that I have written have not gone out to my subscribers like they’re supposed to. Some days they go out the following day and other days (like yesterday) they don’t go out at all. Grrrrrrr!
So why does this bother me so much?
Feelings such as frustration and resentment come from having expectations and experiencing those expectations not being met. In the case of technology, our culture strongly promotes the idea that technology is the solution to all problems and it will always work and make life better. So it’s understandable that we would adopt this belief and then feel particularly frustrated when some technology we are using doesn’t work. TechForMindfulness
Obviously, this blog is important to me. It’s one of the ways that I express my feelings. It’s also part of a real and imagined feedback loop. With Facebook, I write something and then read some good responses. With the blog, I imagine you guys at home or in the office enjoying what I’ve composed. I’ve grown attached to this daily loop. That’s why having my blog on pause is like having food that I ordered at a restaurant stuck in the kitchen.
You might say, “Scott – you have a contract with the technology company that sends out this blog. Your job is to compose it and their job is to send it out in a timely manner. They are not doing their job well so it makes sense that you’re disappointed with their service.”
True. But there’s more.
Being “attached” to expectations can be an unhealthy way to move through life. I felt this when I was attached to cigarettes, shopping or work. And in today’s age, I feel it when my internet service goes down or a website (usually a government one) acts wonky. And it drives me bananas. It disturbs my calm. And I find it harder to do anything else. Sometimes, I will eat more or abandon the rest of my “to-dos” when I am frustrated by tech. So, what am I to do?
The author who writes under the name TechForMindfulness continues…
If you apply some mindfulness to your experience and pay attention to the ways in which technology works or fails to work, you may be able to chip away at that idea and instead see the reality — that technology only works some of the time.
Yup. That’s the ticket. If I expect that my blog will go out every day, on time, without fail, then I am setting myself up for a fall.
Instead, I can apply a tool I learned from my brother, Craig, that he learned from an author who penned a beautiful, helpful book about these methods in a book called The Tools. Below is my best memory of this “tool”.
When you have something coming up that’s important to you, visualize every detail of it going right. Imagine, to the best of your ability, every nuance, every detail working out amazingly well. Next, repeat the same exercise and imagine everything going wrong. To the best of your ability, picture every nuance, every detail going horribly wrong. Now – repeat it, again – and this time try and FEEL what it’s like to have it go wrong or right. (Without the feeling part, the exercise is not as useful.)
In my case, I imagine success at writing this blog, loving the ideas I’m discovering in my head, smiling and feeling joy in my heart as each paragraph leads effortlessly to the next. Then I can imagine one of my friends laughing or nodding with appreciation for my clever and helpful words. It’s a mutual lovefest.
Next, I imagine slogging through the writing process, never really hitting my points with any accuracy. In fact, it feels repetitive, bland, and worthless. Then, I imagine that I polish up this little turd and it will not go out despite my best effort. And then EVERYONE thinks, “what the fuck is wrong with Scott? Here I am, ready to read his half-assed blog and he can’t even get it to me?”
The point is that we have now conditioned ourselves for any eventuality. We felt the range of feelings and now, we can just get on with life without creating drama.
So, let’s all try and get unattached, disengage from unrealistic and unhealthy expectations and just be ourselves. I think that’s enough.
P.S. I enjoyed writing this post and hope that it goes out. However, I accept that it might not and that’s okay, too.