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The World Hidden Before Us.

Sunday night I swung by for Chinese takeout. I love chicken lo mein… Part of the joy of eating Chinese food has always been the fortune cookie. It’s not only the lightly sweetened taste of the cookie, but the hidden fortune inside.

I have begun to judge restaurants based upon the quality of these little treats – even shunning some while choosing others. The fortunes always give me a time to reflect upon the thought and ask questions.

Hokey, probably – but fun, most certainly!

When I opened the fortune cookie inside was a wonderful quote that really gave me some food for thought,

Technology is the art of arranging the world so we do not notice it.

At first glance, I was amazed at how succinct and wonderful this fortune was. In a previous post, The Heart of a Technologist, I said,

I see so many who seem to be on a quest for self-glory or the latest discovery, much like Ponce de Leon’s search for the infamous Fountain of Youth. Some may serve through discovery or creation, while some offer their service in the form of repair or maintenance. When at our best, we operate behind the scenes, unnoticed and under cover of dark, weaving our magic webs of security and five-nine’s availability.

In essence, I had thought the script read that when technology was working as it should, it was invisible.

However, as I rolled this around in my mind, much like tasting a great glass of wine, I began to wonder if it instead meant that technology got in the way of seeing the world for what it is. With communication coming at us in all directions and everything from coworkers to advertisers vying for our attention, are we too connected? Does the noise distract us from seeing the beauty?

These are all great questions for technologist and lay-person alike to ponder. Are you sure you walk your critical path in life? What gets in the way of you seeing life as you should?

Image credit: zzzack

Live It, Love It, or Leave It.

I have learned that each of us has a special gift that we do better than just about anyone else out there.Certainly, we all need to celebrate the differences we encounter with a spirit of gratitude.¬†We often give of ourselves to help others, but like to know that our gifts are appreciated. Don’t you?

Think about what occurs when you feel most appreciated. Is it when your boss, mentor or account manager spends time with you; is it when he or she offers you genuine compliments, offers you gifts, says thank you by doing something for you or simply gives you a hug or firm pat on the back for a job well done*?

You know what makes you smile!

What if the shoe were on the other foot? What if you found yourself offering of yourself, be it advice, time or compliments – and not only were they not being received, but refused outright. What a dramatic hit to our self-worth! It can be stunning to be rejected, right? Eventually, you no longer feel like giving of yourself – your advice, time or compliments. You begin to think it is pointless and falling on deaf ears.

As I see it, there are 3 choices the professional has:

  1. Live it: Suck it up and deal with the situation.
  2. Love it: Relish what you do (ideally).
  3. Leave it: Walk away, knowing you gave it your best effort and that your energy and gifts are better spent elsewhere.

Which choice do you make when you are running on empty? Which message are you telling your customer to think about you?

*Methods of appreciation adapted from Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages.