Yesterday after reading this great piece by Ollin Morales on the Courage to Create blog I did what a dutiful blog reader does: I shared it. (hint hint)
I shared it because it talks about technology and how our addiction to it has dehumanized us in many ways. He said technology may make things easier and more accessible, it may fill our lives with information and data but it does not provide knowledge.
I agreed with Ollin so much that I shared his post (another hint) and really tried to take his message to heart. Deep, spiritual, fulfilling knowledge like the origin of the soul and the irreplaceability of true friendship cannot be found through technology.
Then I pulled up the Map My Run app on my iPhone, stuck my earbuds in, chose a podcast from the HBR library and set out for a run.
Under Armored and plugged in, I let my high tech running shoes strike pavement and I ran.
The first podcast was about motivation and the guests had written an article about two distinct types of motivation. They called the types promotional and preventional.
If one is promotionally motivated, then one does things for the likelihood of advancing in some way: earning a bonus or getting recognition.
If one is preventional, then motivation is about keeping things safe, secure, and known. Preventionalists are interested in continuity and reliability. They are unwilling to sacrifice that security for the limited or vague promises of promotion.
The Harvard Business Review interviewer asked some great questions about applying these findings to work and to personal life. As I ran I considered my approach at work and my approach to challenges at home. I’ll write all about these ideas in a business blog which I’ll post on my new web site (shameless plug, share THIS).
But let’s get back to the run.
So there I am, plodding along, mile two comes and goes and the podcast ends so I stop to walk and change to another podcast. It won’t load. I have one bar (a unit of measurement consistent with modernity if ever there was one).
I choose my music library and my running playlist and pick the jog back up. I make it around the lower loop and head up the biggest climb of the run.
The music begins to break up. It’s like short wave radio suddenly. Then, as I get pissed, I hear, “Bing! Bing!” and the music stops all together. The damn iPhone thinks I want to access voice control. Over and over again this happens while I’m becoming more and more pissed.
The clouds have knitted together into a deep grey blanket overhead and I can’t get the iPhone to cooperate. I take it off my arm and go to the settings menu and suspend all manner of interruptive applications (that’s you, Siri, you meddlesome wretch) and re-position the iPhone in my arm band so it will cease this misbehaving.
The music resumes. I go right extending the run an extra mile and try to recover. Then the same friction begins again. “Come on!” I howl to no one in particular.
So okay, technology made a baby of me as I stood griping in the middle of a neighborhood street.
Then I remembered Ollin’s post and started laughing. It wasn’t a deep chortle of satisfaction, more like a sarcastic scoff with a little maniacal derision. But it was a laugh. An, “Oh, okay then,” kind of laugh.
I turned the damn thing off and just started running. Chi running. Deep inner energy running.
Then it started raining.
Really raining. Water the grass rain. Cool off the stifling heat rain. Saturate my running gear rain. Maybe sizzle the iPhone into submission kind of rain.
I just ran.
Then I heard her, faintly, telling me to get over it. What “it” was I couldn’t be sure, but I heard her. I heard her trying to get me to unplug, let go, move on.
I heard her say, “Let it go.”
And I ran on.
It may have been the blog post I read, or the live snake that slithered across the road as I approached the exit to my neighborhood, or the iPhone twitching and glitching, or the rain. Any one of those things could have been a message.
They combined yesterday morning and I heard, “Let it go.”
Later that day I got two rejections. They say in sales you’ll have more of those than you really want and well that’s two more than I really wanted. But when they came I thought I heard her again say, “Let it go,” and I’m trying.
I’m trying, Nana. I’m trying to relinquish those things that would bury me and trying to focus on those things that lift me up. I’m trying to let go of those things that salt my wounds and embitter me and instead be washed clean by the gentle rain of gratitude.
I’m trying, Nana. Next time I won’t make you work so hard to get my attention.
Ever felt the universe speaking to you? When? How? Whose voice did you hear?