Are You The Best Version Of Yourself?

As a converted geek I’m always keen on keeping my digital tools updated. You know the drill: backups and upgrades, cleaning up unneeded files and keep it slim. I’m almost always up to date and thoroughly enjoy it. Oh, the secret bliss of running the latest version of my operating system! The subtle satisfaction of watching how smoothly my laptop makes its apps literally flying over the carefully chosen desktop background image!

Alas, that’s not always the case with my real self. Unfortunately, my mental operating system is more  than often obsolete. I sometimes feel like I lack some crucial features or don’t know how to handle specific events. In some specific cases, this unstable behavior goes for years. I run into the same patterns, like hitting the same keyboard combination, and always get the same result: a frozen screen, for instance. Or, if it’s a major crisis, even a “blue screen of death”, followed by a brutal reboot.

I’m sure you’ve been there too. We all did. This happens because we’re not updated to our latest version of ourselves. We didn’t upgrade. We’re still running an old and clumsy command line interface, we can’t address more physical memory to incorporate new experiences and we really don’t know how to handle new devices in our life, because we’re missing some important drivers.

Joke aside, our behavior as human beings can be comfortably described as an operating system metaphor. Introducing the converted geek 5 steps guide to upgrade to your best version of yourself:

1. Balance Your Core Features

Any operating system has a set of core features. Any human being has a unique set of qualities. Be sure to keep a close balance between all parts. An equilibrium in motion. Too much of something will make the rest seem unfit. An imbalanced structure of qualities will make your mental operating system crash without warning on the weak spots.

For example, some operating systems are better at networking, but they really suck at graphics. Some other are good at office productivity but they lack a proper driver integration and so on. What makes your presence so valuable is not personal excellence on a single topic, but rather a stable load under high pressure. A well balanced mix of qualities.

2. Defrag Your Mind

We have a virtually unlimited capacity of information storage. What makes us feel like we don’t is the narrow channel used to access it. Our conscious mind can process only 5-7 stimuli form the environment, but the unconscious mind is capable of much more. It’s like a having huge, actually infinite, hard-drive but a very slow access protocol to it.

Until we will be able to broaden this channel, we can try to improve some other parts. We can take care of our mental clutter by defragmenting it every now and then. GTD addicted will call this mental defragmentation “emptying the mind” while other people may simply call it meditation. While even others call it: “keep my things in good order”.

Read more about how to defrag your mind in 5 easy steps.

3. Update Your Drivers

Every now and then we attach some new piece of hardware to our computers. Like a printer or a nice camera. But this new equipment will not function unless there is a driver, a way to communicate with the computer operating system. This is exactly what happens when we incorporate something new in our lives: from a new car to a new relationship or job.

Unless we will strive to update our drivers to really understand how to talk with those new entities, we will not function properly. We may look like we have a printer (or a wife, or a luxury car) attached, but it will not really work until we build a new communication protocol to it. We can’t expect to have something new in our lives without changing ourselves to fully integrate it.

Read more about how to manage and upgrade your life device drivers.

4. Stay Virus Free

If you expose your operating system to untrusted sources, you may experience a very bad situation called “virus”. These things are basically independent entities which are taking control over your system and make it their own toy. For fun or for profit. The same thing can happen to your mind. More often than you think, your mind is actually controlled by somebody else.

Staying virus free is much more difficult for your mental operating system than for your computer operating system. Especially the cleaning action is quite tedious. Sometimes, your mind will remain partially infected for ever. So, the best way to avoid a mental virus infection is prevention: trust your own mind, make your own judgment and take everything with a little bit of salt.

Read more about how to keep your mind virus free.

5. Enjoy An Unexpected Shutdown Every Now And Then

No operating system is perfect. There are (and there will always be) minor memory leaks, open loops and untested functions which will, in time, make your computer unstable. This is why is recommended to push the shutdown button every now and then, the same way you take an unexpected 15 minutes nap with the head on the desktop, when your boss is known to be in his lunch break.

At a higher level, this translates in a more relaxed way to look at the world. Keeping yourself too focused can sometimes do more harm and good. Too much tension will eventually break something around you, if not you. Cease to believe you are in control and give your powers away every once in a while. Trust that everything will be good in the end. If it’s not ok, then it is not the end.

The Undocumented Feature

Every geek knows that all operating systems have some deeply hidden treasures, also known as undocumented features. Sometimes those features are just simple Easter Eggs, plain and useless pieces of information, only hidden. But sometimes, those undocumented features are really valuable tools, precious improvements which are giving you more time and computing power.

In  your mental operation system, those undocumented features are in fact your personal power. Your hidden, undercover potential waiting to be unleashed. Those features are secret weapons you can use to do things nobody think you can do. It’s your identity. Your uniqueness, your singularity, your own personal gift to the world.

Nobody really knows what your undocumented feature is, except you. You are the carrier of this fantastic energy, of this unique feature which made you so necessary and needed that the world couldn’t properly function without you. That’s right, you’re here for a reason. The world called for you and you have to deliver. You really have to.

So, you’d better pull yourself together and, for starters, go find a mirror and ask this to yourself: am I really running the best version of myself? Really, really?

Translations of this post: Spanish.



Dragos Roua

The guy who started all this. Entrepreneur, ultra-marathoner, tanguero, father and risk taker. I'm blogging here, but I also spend a lot of time in this marvelous space.. You're invited, by the way.

This Post Has 53 Comments

  1. Marko

    Hi Dragos,

    Awesome post.

    The computer metaphor resonates with me as well and is a really useful way of thinking about personal improvement.

    To me it can make even such mundane tasks/chores like washing the dishes somewhat “sexy” – because now I can think to myself that I’m de-fragging my kitchen. At least, that’s what I’m going to tell myself the next 10 minutes. 😉
    .-= Marko´s last blog ..Mind Mapping for Musicians =-.

    1. dragos

      Lol, that wa sa good one and I admit I didn’t think at it :-) Defragging the kitchen, I will really use this when I’ll do the dishes myself :-)

  2. Uli

    Hi Dragos,

    nice post. I like this picture of defragmenting the mind. I my case the last total defragmentation went along with also defragmenting my living and working space 😛

    And this sentense of yours I enjoyed much: “Trust that everything will be good in the end. If it’s not ok, then it is not the end.”

    You are describing the analogy between a computer operating system and the human mind.

    What I actually hate, is comparing the human being to a machine in a sense that the human IS a machine, defining it by function (and NOT by identity aka as personality [in this context]). This boils down to the exploitation of our current economic system. A computer operating system that is infected by a virus does not work properly. But a human mind infected with the virus functions best: Usually it works in somebody elses office building. Also, two movies come to my mind here: Modern Times (Charly Chaplin) and Matrix.

    To me the mechanics of computer software mirror the mechanics of our mind. In that way there is much creativity involved, applying our proven thinking mechanics to the machine. This is more like an extension of our capabilities, tools and devices. It is not about replacing humans with machines and vice versa.

    Thanks God for the undocumented feature!

    1. dragos

      Matrix is certainly a thing that comes to your mind every time you think at computers and their potential world domination. I’m more like you said, a fan of computing power as a tool, rather than an independent entity ready to challenge its inventors. Early agriculture benefited tremendously from using tools. The same is now, on an invisible field, with computers, only they are harvesting a different kind of crops…

  3. Cs

    Bravo Dragos,
    you sound like a digerati.

    You tapped well the pulse of our times … moving everything to digital, understand better and import back into real life.

    Salut si numai bine,
    cs

    1. dragos

      You made me google for “digerati”, never heard about it so far :-) Thanks for reposting it and glad you found value here. Don’t be a stranger :-)

  4. Meg at Demanding Joy

    Ha! What a great analogy. I love the concept of the emotional blue screen of death. So many things in this post inspired me. I’m going to spend some time thinking & journaling about my best self. Thanks!!
    .-= Meg at Demanding Joy´s last blog ..Get Organized for 2010! (part 3) =-.

    1. dragos

      Glad I made you think and especially glad that you’ll follow up with some journaling. I’m a big fan of journaling myself :-)

  5. Jonathan - Advanced Life Skills

    Hey Dragos, talk about using an illustration from something familiar. This worked so well. We all recognize the importance of keeping our computer systems optimized. Tying that same concept to our personal operating system is perfect. Really enjoyed this article.

    1. dragos

      Glad you liked it. And I knew you are the kind of guy who love to keep his things neat, just like me 😉

  6. Lana-DreamFollowers Blog

    I asked myself this question and the answer suprisingly was – yes-I am an upgraded version of myself now. Was doing lots of inner work lately, so i guess it paid off. Great article Dragos and very creative as always. Really enjoyed it, thank you!
    .-= Lana-DreamFollowers Blog´s last blog ..I Don’t Believe In Religion But I Talked To God Today =-.

  7. ayeeh

    Nice Article=) Very Inspiring. I liked the way you asscociated and compared the human mind with computer/s. The semblance is really there. Such a brilliant idea.

  8. Mike King

    This is a great comparison and very real for many of us Dragos. I enjoyed seeing how many similarities I can relate to and I’m sure others feel the same.

    I like the point of undocumented features as this really is an exciting area when new potential or capabilities are discovered to be there that you never knew existed. I find this all the time in my work when we learn some new feature about our OS or apps we use and so it is true with ourselves. We discover new capabilities we had never before used or explored, and the excitement from this is incredible. Love this idea!
    .-= Mike King´s last blog ..Staying Ahead Is Easier Than Catching Up =-.

  9. Steven | The Emotion Machine

    This is so well-written and it it is such a cleverly elaborated analogy. Really, really great read- I am going to tweet it right now! Thanks for sharing Dragos!
    .-= Steven | The Emotion Machine´s last blog ..Believe That Nervousness Is A Good Thing – And It Is! =-.

  10. Iyabo Asani, The Inner Genius Coach

    Awesome, Awesome post!

    Got my mind thinking.

    I love making parallel conversations with things that make sense or that I already understand thoroughly.

    I think stay virus free is my favorite!

    Iyabo
    .-= Iyabo Asani, The Inner Genius Coach´s last blog ..My Heart On Haiti – How To Leverage Your Energy To Support Haiti =-.

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  13. Sorin

    Dragos,
    Excellent idea to “shock” our minds with a different approach for better understanding. I think technology is soo much in our lives that reinforcing the basics using a computer slang is brilliant.
    I will ask you to allow me to add to my posts some links to your articles.

  14. david

    Dragos,

    Decent post, but I am wondering about the “hows”. I am very interested, but you (and I do not know if it was your intent) give any instructions on how to actually implement any of your ideas. It is like me telling you that you should defrag your HD without actually going through the steps on how to do so. Is there a way you can follow this up with some additional substance, e.g. concrete instructions or something similar? I love the analogy, esp. since I study computational neuroscience a bit. Thanks.

    1. dragos

      Well, it’s like tempting a kid with candies :-) OF COURSE I’d love to write more on that topic. :) The “shutdown every now and then” should be pretty self-explanatory but the defrag, staying virus free and drivers updating could safely be included in a bigger post.

      Thanks for letting me know 😉

  15. Bradstor

    I agree with some of the comments above. The article makes some vague connections between a computer and a person, and that’s it. How is this any sort of a guide?

    1. dragos

      It’s a personal perspective, nothing more. If it makes you think, I’m halfway there. I’ll write a follow up for sure on some of the points above, as I feel I can detail more on them.

      To be honest, I always prefer to read stuff that will challenge my mind and made me search for my own solution rather than a ready made guide which may not be suitable for my personal experience. In this respect, the title is a little bit overboard, I agree. But I’ll make it up to you by detailing the main points in the next posts. :-)

  16. Pingback: Are You The Best Version Of Yourself? – The Converted Geek Guide To Self-Upgrade « Satyavrat's Blog

  17. Carmen

    I love this post, Dragos. The mind and the computer have so many similarities. I have always found the analogy helpful within Getting Things Done as well, and know that when I declutter my mind I have so much more room for creativity. I love the idea that we all have undocumented features as well!

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  20. Walter

    Hi Dragos. You certainly are a converted geek. You analogy here does indeed fit with our nature as humans. But to tell you the truth, upgrading ones’ self is not an easy task. Unlike computers which are easily upgradable, people are resistant to any upgrades, especially if it concerns our habits. Only the wise will take heed of regular upgrade. :-)

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  23. Farouk

    i like your writing style :)

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  26. Joel

    This is brilliant stuff! I loved it. A couple of things I might add …
    1) Do diffs against old versions of yourself now and then. It’ll help you make note of the changes, plus it may remind you of some things that you shouldn’t have changed in the first place.
    2) Use source control. If you check in a version of yourself that you end up not liking, you can always take a step back. Without source control, it’s hard to do. (Maybe a practical way of looking at this is “don’t burn your bridges until you’re absolutely sure”). :-)

    Nicely done!

  27. Andreea

    Sounds like Scrubs :)

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  30. Amit Sodha - The Power Of Choice

    Hey Dragos,

    Great post and loving the geek metaphorics! :-) Upgrading your drivers is a nice concept!
    .-= Amit Sodha – The Power Of Choice´s last blog ..Don’t Let The Attitude Of Gratitude Turn You Into A Pushover =-.

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  34. Eric | Eden Journal

    Great post. I often find it useful to defrag my mind. The unexpected shutdown is great too. Just this past Sunday I took one of these unexpected shutdowns, and napped for a couple of hours. It was a great recharge and much needed.
    .-= Eric | Eden Journal´s last blog ..Creativity Takes Many Forms =-.

  35. TMUkmkd

    u just catch my eyes with ur post man 😀
    by g33k for da g33k

    p.s even thou me using linux :p
    .-= TMUkmkd´s last blog ..Nyahpepijat Dengan SOP =-.

  36. How To Assemble A Computer

    Fantastic post, I think we all need to reboot our thoughts at times in order to keep our minds fresh and updated.

    My favorite qoute was a real eye opener for the computer gamer which stated, “I went outside once, but the graphics wasn’t that great”.

    I loved this post , Thanks – Mike Hutcheson
    Best Brand PC Hardware

  37. Martyna Bizdra

    Hi :)

    first time here:) so how are you?

    I have also been recently thinking of the importance of balance in our lives…and realized that the whole concept explains so many things.
    nature (and of course us humans) loves harmony- balance, and tries to reach it at all costs, but it is the lack of harmony that moves everything forward.

    just look at what happens in business or the internet marketing world. everything non-conventional that somehow deconstructs the common “harmony”, creates a lot of buzz. people just need to react and fix what they perceive as the lack of harmony…

    this is an interesting topic, isn’t it?

    catch up soon
    thanks
    Martyna

  38. Diane

    Great article, I love the analogy that you used! – It’s so appropriate. I myself made a conscious decision a to improve my “mental OS”, I started reading a lot of self improvement books and it’s amazing how much I’ve grown in a relatively short amount of time.

    Now if I could only keep my drivers and back-ups up to date!

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  40. 3D Printers

    Thanks for the post..I agree with some of the comment above….

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  45. Stuart

    It feels like it is a computer. We often think that our body has no limits but after reading your article, we also need to condition our body to work properly. Interesting article dragos!

  46. a

    Hey! I understand this is kind of off-topic however I had to ask.
    Does managing a well-established website like
    yours require a large amount of work? I am brand new to writing a blog
    but I do write in my journal daily. I’d like to start a blog so I can easily
    share my personal experience and views online. Please let me know if you have any kind of recommendations or tips for brand new aspiring bloggers.
    Appreciate it!

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