Friday, January 6, 2012

The Right Tool for the Job

 The Right Tool for the Job 

I saw a commercial on TV this week for a Dodge Caravan, and the announcer exclaimed how it was “the right tool for the job”.  Hey, wait a minute; if like me you grew up in the 60s you’ll recognize that as the byline of Mr. Natural, one of R. Crumb’s crazy comic characters. Amazing how "far out" ideas becomes mainstream.   But now that they mentioned it, I am always looking for the right tool for the job too, and I think I found a new one.

Some background: The internet is a great source for information and ideas to use for just about anything.  Put something into one of the online search engines and you’ll get a cornucopia of information in no time. Don’t know the dates or facts for something – no problem, a quick search can rectify that.  Looking for just the right word or phrase, or the meaning of a word – that’s easy, use an online dictionary. With most of the dictionaries we use – either in print or online – there’s an actual method for deciding which words are listed.

But now there’s a new kind of dictionary – it’s called Wordnik (no kidding, I read about it in the New York Times)., is a dictionary that evolves as language does. On Wordnik, users can add new words and meanings, tag words with related expressions, see real-time search results for words from Twitter and Flickr, discover how many Scrabble points each word is worth — all on one page.  Check it out – you’ll be amazed.  And then read about how it got started, and you’ll be even more amazed.

So, when’s the last time you saw a really new dictionary?  Probably never.  But just like with Wikipedia, this Internet thing is changing the way most of the things we grew up with are done today.  I’m always looking up stuff as I write these messages, and between Wikipedia and now Wordnik I’ve gotten new tools that are right for this job.  I could never have gotten such easy access to so much information before.  And in this is one of the lessons of our times.

We are witness to an amazing array of development that produces changes to many of the things we’re accustomed to.  And we’re expected to adapt to all these new things in ways that really stretch us.  Not unlike our grandparents, who lived thru the advent of the automobile, air travel, televisions, calculators and more, we’re now experiencing changes that are more frequent and in many ways more amazing.  Who’d of thought that as kids when we marveled at Dick Tracy’s watch/phone combination or Buck Roger’s space travel that there would be things like that in our lifetimes?  Well, there are, and so much more too.  Stop and try to imagine a world without computers, the internet, cable TV and cell phones.  Could we get along without this stuff – probably.  Would we be better off without this stuff – probably not. But either way, it’s here and we should choose what works for each of us and make the most of the things life now offers.

So, go check out Wordnik.  Or go find something else that is new in this New Year.  Because no matter what, we should always be looking for the right tools for the job.  We should each be on the lookout for the new tools that can help make our jobs easier, and the results of our jobs better.  That’s the challenge of life.  And in the answers to those challenges are the wonders of life.

In the spirit of New Years, this week's message is about one of the resolutions people generally make for this holiday:

Arte Nathan“Get in shape” -Unknown

On the surface, getting in shape is seemingly about the need to shed unwanted pounds and inches.  But there are lots of others things that might also benefit by getting in shape.  How about your attitude: is that in the right shape for this New Year? If your attitude is not as good as it could or should be, chances are you won’t approach the things you need to see and do with the openness that would be needed to make the most of them.  How about your commitment: is that where it should be to start off on the right foot?  Because if you’re not really committed to the things you need to do then they won’t get the most out of the things you do.  How about your focus: are you in the moment enough to see what needs to be done clearly?  If not, how can you expect to be the leader or role model that others might need you to be?  These are some of the things that will be significantly improved if you’re in the right shape to implement and execute them effectively.  So start getting every aspect of your life in shape today.

Happy New Year and Stay Well!

1 comment:

  1. an amazing site- guaranteed to enrich my writing and speaking