Embrace the Opportunities

“In the rush to return to normal, use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth rushing back to.”

                                                                    – Dave Hollis

Before you read any further I want you to do something.  Copy and paste the quote above to  another document.  It doesn’t matter what, it could be tomorrow’s calendar, or your notes.  Finished?  Take a minute to reflect on how simple that was.  Can any of you remember the process prior?  Think about how often you use the cut and paste function; for me it is a daily activity.  So what’s my point?  A recent post by Angela Duckworth alerted me to the passing of a true innovator, a man who coined the phrase, “User-friendly”, a man who simplified the everyday life of millions, including yours and mine.  His name was Larry Tesler and thanks to his efforts, we can “cut and paste”.  

Tesler was a passionate computer pioneer.  Soon after graduating from Stanford he went to work in the Silicon Valley, doing research for some of its most important companies, including Apple, under Steve Jobs.  Before Tesler, word processing programs had different modes, and the user had to memorize multiple sets of keystroke combinations and how they worked across modes. Tesler later recalled, this complexity always tripped him up, so he set out to create a simpler way to interact with computerized text. This would become his lifelong passion to learn how to make computers “user-friendly,” 

According to Duckworth, Tesler embodies what developmental psychologists call “Mastery Behaviors” – the inclination to seek-out opportunities and challenges, invest effort in learning, persist when difficulty mounts, and rebound from failure.  People holding these qualities are never satisfied with the status quo, and they never give up on improving things.  When they hear the phrases “next to impossible” or “extremely difficult”, they take it as a personal challenge and seek to accomplish.  

Our world is currently filled with challenges and opportunities, and we know that the solutions will not come easy.  We will need to persist, rebound from initial failures, and never give up.  In his autobiography, Tesler provides us with some wonderful advice to remember as we create a better world.  I’ve cut and pasted, and they appear below:

Remember, you don’t have all the answers. 

Some people can do what you do better than you can. Team up. 

When you think it’s as simple as it can be, there is probably a way to make it even simpler.

Embrace the Challenge/Embrace the Opportunity