Since an early age, we have all been given advice about how to succeed at life. The most frequently given advice falls into these broad categories: study hard, get a good job, get married, start a family, etc.
School has little to do with students, grades have little to do with learning, employment and income have something to do with quality of life, and marriages all-to-often end in divorce.
What is success, and why do we expend so much energy asking people for advice on how to be successful?
The human mind is the original camera. Although the mind does not exactly “take pictures” as we go about our day, exposure to any event changes what is on the film.
What happens to the film when we welcome technology into our lives – into our classrooms – without question?
You could say that our entire existence revolves around fixing them once they come into our conscious awareness. Some are personal, some are not.
Most of our problems affect our immediate well-being, otherwise we would not identify them as problems.
Sometimes they are inconsequential: a Sudoku puzzle in a book, for example. These are the problems that we create for ourselves and love to solve.
Others carry extreme consequences, but we rarely take pause for them. They never became personal.
Our feelings about the present are always out of context. What immediately seems good or bad does not always turn out that way in a week, month, or even a year later.
As we cannot see the future, we lack the full context for the immediate.
It is a human curiosity that we shape our impressions by the page of the book we are on rather than waiting until the end of the story.
There are, of course, some stories that cannot wait to be fully told before we form an impression. When an objective truth is unavailable, we must act on good faith with what we have in front of us.
There is a fundamental shift in how we interact with technology that has been progressing for a bit more than 15 years now. Shift Sight stands firmly on one side of this shift. Other companies are scrambling to get to the other side by any means possible.
This is a great divide in technology that defines how we interact with gadgets. The implications in schools (and edtech) are especially worrying.
How we see the world is based on the world that we have experienced. The advice that we give is the advice that we would give ourselves. If someone tells you that "you can't," they are actually saying that "I can't."
We are mirrors.
This is not a limitation, but by design. It is nearly impossible to summon something into our consciousness that we have never encountered. If you don't believe me, close your eyes and imagine a color that nobody has ever seen before. Good luck.
Fundamentally, people excel at doing two things. We invent games. We tell stories.
Most of our daily activity can be placed into one of these bins. Even if we are on autopilot while doing repetitive work, we may tell ourselves stories as we think about our past or future.
How is technology shaping our stories and games?
Here's your mental exercise tonight. Imagine that, in the photo above, each of those marbles is on a plate that you are holding. Now picture trying to dump them, single file, into a jar.
Well, on the upside, at least you don't need to expend mental energy cleaning up the mess.
This exercise has very important implications in your happiness and the overall well-being of this planet.
You are either a product of your circumstances or an observer of your circumstances.
Genuine observers are scarce and difficult to find since they do not seek the limelight. They are also very happy, resilient people.
Keep reading to learn about why we need more observers.
Nothing happens in a vacuum. Our entire known universe is interconnected.
Feedback is all around us. It can arrive in the form of verbal comments from a trusted friend. It can be cells in our bodies interacting with each other via biochemistry. Or, on a grand scale, it can be biodiversity in action as one species ensures the survival of another in a very obscure way.
Why is it so hard for us to notice and interpret feedback all around us?
What happens when feedback is manipulated artificially?
Ty is a Founder of Shift Sight, LLC.