Lessons From A Grumpy Computer

Erika Petrelli
Erika Petrelli

My computer was foiling me at every turn yesterday. Documents I was trying to work on kept crashing. My VPN kept booting me off. The internet connection had a speed like the old-time AOL dial-up. Pandora kept pausing (you know, the important things). Emails were getting stuck in my outbox. My instant message connections kept getting dropped.

Normally, a simple restart would solve these types of issues. Shut the computer off, turn the computer on, and Voila! Issues resolved. But after three restarts yesterday and much cursing and gnashing of teeth and stomping of feet, I had to admit to myself that a simple restart was just not going to do it. So after a few more hurled expletives and large sighs and furrowing of brow, you know, just for emphasis, mainly for the benefit of my cat who is my sole office mate most days, I relented. I stopped trying to do the things my computer didn’t want me to do. I re-arranged my task list and got other things done. I postponed a few virtual meetings that I knew would end up going horribly wrong if my computer were involved. I adapted my day rather than continuing to fight with my computer’s.

And today? Well today is a better day. My computer is in a much better mood, thank you very much.

Sometimes, the simple fix doesn’t cut it. Sometimes, a bad day is just a bad day. Sometimes the things we want to do just don’t jive with the people (or computers) we want to do them with. I see this with my kids all the time. It will usually play out something like this:

Daughter: Dylan, let’s play dolls. I’ll be the mommy and you be the brother.

Son:  Okay, and mommy is the sister.

Daughter:  Okay! Now let’s go grocery shopping.

Son:  Okay, and we live on a ROCKET SHIP that is about to blast off to outer space!

Daughter: NO! We DON’T live in a rocket ship! Here, use this doll not that doll.  I’m pushing the cart!

Son: NO! I want this doll, and the alien is here too! Let me have a turn!

Daughter:  NO! No Alien! And let go of the cart!

Son:  MARLOWE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Daughter:  AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

*both stomp off in opposite directions, dolls, aliens, rocket ships, and grocery carts abandoned and forgotten

When we keep fighting for our way we usually end up frustrated or disappointed. When it has to be the way we envision it we often miss out on the opportunity for something even better than we could have thought of on our own. (I mean, blasting off to the grocery store in a rocket-ship in the shape of a grocery cart with both kids holding on tight could have been a SUPER fun game, you know?)

My grumpy computer yesterday reminded me that just because I have a plan doesn’t mean life is going to acquiesce to my plan. It reminded me of the importance of staying open. It reminded me of the value in sometimes walking away and trying again later.

What plan can you let go of today?   



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Erika Petrelli

By Erika Petrelli

Erika Petrelli is the Senior Vice President of Leadership Development (and self-declared Minister of Mischief) for The Leadership Program, a New York City-based organization. With a Masters degree in Secondary Education, Erika has been in the field of teaching and training for decades, and has been with The Leadership Program since 1999. There she has the opportunity to nurture the individual leadership spirit in both students and adults across the country, through training, coaching, keynotes, and writing. The legacy Erika strives daily to create is to be the runway upon which others take flight. If you enjoy these blogs, you should check out her interactive journal, On Wings & Whimsy: Finding the Extraordinary Within the Ordinary, now available for sale on Amazon. While her work takes her all around the country, Erika calls Indiana home.