The QWERTY keyboard we all know and love as it allows us to communicate with our computer was designed to slow you down in typing speed. Did you know that? The reason the QWERTY keyboard is laid out the way it is is so that you don’t find an occasion to type letters that are next to each other very often and that you have to reach around a bit to type commonly used words. Using this design prevented early typewriters from jamming their strike bars as a result of speedy typing. The need for this keyboard arrangement is long gone, yet we continue to teach people this antiquated keyboard layout instead of adopting something new, like the Dvorak keyboard. I don’t have the nerve to try Dvorak keyboard as I’m probably one of the fastest typists you’ll ever meet (and I say that with the utmost confidence), but I hear that if I was able to learn the alternate keyboard I could be even a faster typist. My 43-year old brain has been using the same muscle memory for typing since I was 7. It’s the old dog, new tricks thing.
Imagine what the world would be like today if we had the courage to try new things. Perhaps we could more than two realistic (and I use that term loosely) choices for President of the United States. Perhaps we could elect a leader based on their merits instead of how much money they funneled into a campaign to be the brightest and shiniest.
If we took a leap out of our safety nets or a step outside of our comfort zones, we might find the courage to say “hello” to that stranger on the street looks like they’re having a bad day. Maybe I’d discover that I don’t mind eating eggs. Perhaps life wouldn’t feel so boring as we strive to grow by doing the same thing over and over again. It’s like leaping out of an airplane: trust the parachute and enjoying flying like a bird. You’ll eventually be grounded again.
At age 20, when I sat down at my first staff meeting as a brand-new employee of the second largest computer company in the world, I was told that we needed to shift the paradigm of computing. We needed to approach everything from a different angle. We needed to step back from our green screens and introduce users to a world outside of typing commands at a command prompt. Our job was to help people connect through voice, video and data. It was then that I was first introduced to the phrase “paradigm shift”. That meeting meant a lot to me both professionally and personally. The lessons live within me today.
I never thought I would see the day that I would be able to marry the love of my life. I never thought that my watch would be more powerful than the first computer I used. I never thought I would enjoy the off-key singing of Journey tunes coming from the car currently parked next to me in the parking lot. But I love all of it.
Opening your eyes, looking for a different angle and smiling through it all. Now that’s a concept I can get into.