Do you need to change your settings?

I’ve been thinking about how life is no different from technology.

In what way, you ask?

When we have a problem it’s often just a matter of changing our settings.

We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are. – Anais Nin

Tech Settings

In technology we have settings and preferences we can set for everything from font size and color, privacy, security, reach (friends only vs public), notifications (whether and how), etc. These settings can have a profound effect on our experience of programs, apps, and social media. It can really cause problems, in fact, if we don’t even realize we have a choice of settings, or have a clue how to change them.

Example: Overwhelmed by junk email? How much of it was self-induced by signing up for newsletters and webinars, and by ordering things online? Do you realize that you can unsubscribe, filter, and create rules so that unwanted emails don’t clutter your inbox? In other words: Change your settings!

Example: Are you paranoid about people you aren’t friends with seeing your social media posts? Annoyed by what you are seeing in your news feed? Plagued by notifications or silly game requests? It doesn’t have to be that way. Change your settings!

Life Settings

Similarly, in life we have preconceived notions, learned behaviors, prejudices, preferences, and knowledge gained from past experiences that color how we see the world now. These will also affect our future life experiences. And many of these “settings” can be changed.

Example: Have you heard the cutting-the-ham-in-half story? It goes like this: Wife cuts the ham in half before baking it in two pans. Husband asks, “Why?” Wife says, “I don’t know, my Mom always did it that way, let’s ask her.” Mom says, “I don’t know, Grandma always did it that way, let’s ask her.” Grandma says, “Because I didn’t have a big enough pan to fit a whole ham!” Ohhh…what if the reason you are doing certain things is based on what someone else did, and you don’t even know why? Change your settings!

Sometimes we just need an attitude adjustment or a flip of a technology switch; sometimes we need to “reboot” our computers by turning them off and back on again, and our bodies by going to bed early; and sometimes we need professional help.

As I encouraged you to do in a previous post, Live your life by design, not by default!

Here are a few other related blog posts: Always Believe in Yourself,  Give Yourself Permission!Every YES is a NO to Something Else, What are you worried about? Don’t worry; take action!

Actually… MOST of my blog posts have something to do with tweaking the way you look at things!

Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change. – Wayne Dyer

But how?

1. First you need to understand and believe that your settings (and thoughts) can be changed.

Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right. — Henry Ford

2. Then you need to know how to check your settings. Often simply stopping for a moment and thinking it through will do the trick. Examine your thoughts, or explore the buttons on your tech device that you tend to avoid or never noticed before. Ask for help from your computer guru, tech savvy teenager, trusted friend, adviser, organizer, or therapist.

3. Check them periodically. Things change. Technology changes. Circumstances change. You change. You may need to re-set something you thought was already set, or change the setting (or erroneous, unhelpful thought) altogether. Make another choice and see if that works better for you.

4. Remember: If something is annoying you, it might just be a matter of identifying which setting needs to be changed. Even thinking through a household organizing system requires a few moments of reflection and a little (or a lot of) tweaking. It’s easy for us to get distracted and overwhelmed, and to delay focusing on the solution to a problem.

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.        – Albert Einstein

What settings might YOU need to change?

Please share with us in the comments below!

Copyright 2013-2018 by Hazel Thornton, Organized for Life.
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  1. About 30 years ago I realized that if you’re doing something on a computer and it seems clunky, there’s probably another way to do it. It’s only been in the last year or so that I realized the same applies to life itself!

  2. I totally agree. I find that taking a step back from my life to see what is working and what needs improvements help me see what I should change. Going to a park, taking a walk, spending time with myself, and even decluttering a space, helps me regroup and see the change that is necessary.

  3. Ok, I love that ham story. That is so true! We automatically replicate behaviors and systems that were modeled for us. Often we are continuing a habit that no longer makes sense. I love that you give people the idea (and the freedom) to simply question the way we are doing things and consider if there is a better way. Editing the news feed is something I need to do again.

  4. I’m so glad you updated this post so that I knew to read it. I love this one, Hazel! I agree that it’s worth looking, questioning, reflecting on our “settings.” Auto-pilot is OK in some situations, but if we go through life always this way and don’t pay attention to the tweaking opportunities, it can cause lots of challenges.

    One thing I’ve noticed with some of my tech devices is that often when updates come in, the settings I’ve carefully selected get changed. I don’t always notice right away, but when the beeps and dings start sounding when I thought they shouldn’t, I know it’s time to revisit the options.

    This is true in life too. Things can be going along just fine and then something that was working, stops. Maybe circumstances have changed. Maybe I’ve changed. But things are working or flowing well and it’s time to stop, look, and alter.

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