Ones and Zeros...
Computers are almost everywhere these days. In fact, very sophisticated computers are the genius behind today’s late-model cars, enabling them to perform amazing feats. Because of the complex mind of computers, for example, some cars can literally parallel park themselves… without the driver’s assistance. Rolling off the assembly line later this year is the mass-market, almost fully computerized electric Tesla 3 – a watershed event in the computerized auto industry.
Elsewhere in our lives, computers allow us to choose among hundreds of thousands of television shows and movies. And, as you well know, computers now allow us to buy almost any song ever recorded… via iTunes, Pandora, Spotify, and other digital music stores.
As a music lover and former DJ, I am in awe… Millions of songs are now at our fingertips - accessible at a moments notice; we no longer need cassette tapes, 8-tracks… or even compact discs (CDs) to instantaneously bring up our favorite tunes.
Equally stunning, computers have allowed us to launch spacecraft far into space, and to subsequently view some of the most spectacular spheres in our solar system. In fact, computers placed in orbiting satellites now allow us to see stars, nebulae, and space dust far beyond the setting sun.
This blog post you are reading was created on a computer in Hawaii, then transferred to literally millions of other computers on the Internet.
Notwithstanding all of the great afore-listed capabilities, the computer, itself, is actually the most phenomenal machine of them all.
Indeed, despite all of those wonders, the most amazing thing about computers is the fact that the MOST sophisticated computer in the world uses the exact same decision process as the LEAST sophisticated computer.
Regardless of how big or small they are…
Despite vast differences in color, shape, and apparent complexity…
All computer algorithms are based on multiple iterations of one very simple question:
Is the data a ‘1’ or a ‘0’?
Sure, several years ago, we were impressed by computers that could perform thousands of calculations per second. And then we were enamored with computers that could do “ten thousand thousand” computations per second – ten million seemed like such a big number.
Fascinatingly, some of today’s computers perform billions of calculations per second. Yet, the same basic question applies: is the data a ‘1’ or a ‘0’?
If the data is a ‘1,’ the computer does one particular thing.
If the data is a ‘0,’ the computer “decides” to do something totally different.
THIS or THAT?
And when computer programs combine a million billion choices between this or that, the programs have the collective decision process to enable cars to parallel park without any assistance from drivers.
When programmers combine a million billion decisions, programmers actually create a decision process that decides whether or not to send a spaceship to the moon, to Saturn, or somewhere in-between. Literally every decision is “this or that.” And if the programmers want this to happen, they simply re-program the software to do this and not do that.
And, yes… when YOU combine a million billion decisions, YOU arrive where YOU are now. You are facing decisions once again. And depending on what you decide to do NEXT, you, too, can re-program your life.
More importantly, you will soon have the data to take you places where you never thought possible.
But in this case, the question will not be, “Is the data a ‘1’ or a ‘0’ ?”
You are not a computer. However, like a computer, you make binary decisions. Your decisions take you this way or that way… but never both ways.
The question is: What will you do with the data?
What will you do with the information gained from your experience, your lessons learned, this blog, and your time invested on this website? Will you use the information to blast off far beyond this intersection of space and time? Or will you choose to simply read this blog as if it were meant for sheer, mere entertainment?
Computer programs facilitate the phenomenally fast achievement of long, laborious, and previously impossible tasks. And we are especially thankful for the ability to Skype, Facetime, email, and read random blog posts by altruistic members of society.
But have we actually underestimated the simplicity of the computer?
Have we overlooked how special it is to be able to perform one specific decision… and then act upon that decision to do this or that?
Imagine looking down at a decision “T”.
If you decide to choose the decision on the left, you are (by definition) walking AWAY from the choice on the right.
Likewise, and choice to go right pushes you farther from the results of the decision on the left (and “no” this is not a political discussion).
Our lives are a series of 1’s and 0’s.
This OR That?
Left OR Right?
Up OR Down?
Buy, Sell, or Hold?
Yes… sometimes there are more than two choices. But, in the end, we have only one decision to make… and one ultimate selection.
However, most of us think the decisions are a zero-sum game. In other words, we often look upon our past at “what could have been.” Indeed, many of us think we should have gone LEFT instead of choosing to go RIGHT. Some of us wish we would have went with a ONE and not a ZERO.
But in reality, at some point, regardless of which meandering path we took to get here, we likely would have ended up in the exact same place.
The bigger, more appropriate and actionable question is, “Where do we go from here?”
As for all those other decisions… that’s just data.
In fact, every single factor in your life is just data.
Your education, your limitations, and your concentrations… they’re all just data.
Your strengths, your weaknesses, your wishes, and your dreams – all just data.
You, my friend, give meaning to all of this data.
You are the energy that makes it marvelously magical.
On the other hand, you could also be the force that makes it fiercely fearful.
When someone cuts you off in your car, do you seek immediate vengeance… even if it’s a waving a little birdie?
When someone at work (obviously and purposefully) undermines your authority, determination, and inspiration, do you seek out ways to achieve retribution… even it means literally “getting even” – stooping as low as they are?
Or do you see their behavior as just another data point on your journey through the million-billionth calculation for the day?
Regardless of what “they” do, it’s all just data.
The question is: What are you going to do with that data?
HERE’S THE IDEA:
In reality, even the most complicated evaluations can be reduced down to one binary decision point. Emotions are certainly a huge part of our lives. But emotions are only one particular data point. All too often, we react when we should simply act in accordance with our capabilities.
HERE’S THE DEAL:
As we speed past one daily decision point into another… and then another… we need to invest time to enhance our capabilities. How is this enhancement possible? Focus on the positive. I realize this sounds painfully simple. That’s because IT IS painfully simple. When we FOCUS on the positive, we literally lose sight of the negative. It’s simple, right? Moreover, when we CONTINUALLY focus on the positive, we will find more positive parts to this amazing thing called life.
Next week: Choice Equals Power
Last week: Everything. Anything. YOUR Thing...
Accept. Adapt. Achieve. ®
What do YOU want to achieve?
This is Part 2 of a 30-part series on how to achieve The Ideal Life.
Think about the word IDEAL. It is actually a conglomeration of several smaller words, specifically:
~ I ~ ID ~ IDEA ~ DEAL ~ IDEAL ~
In the final analysis, if you can learn to master your Id (as in the ego, id, and superego), you can do some rather amazing things.
© 2011-2016 John H. Clark III
Parts excerpted from The Ideal: Your Guide to An Ideal Life
Available at Amazon.com
220 pages, BFG Press 11/11/11
Inspiring a worldwide community of optimistic realists.