“If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I’m about to do today?”

Sunday, April 5, 2015

How a Password Changed My Life

I was having a great morning until I sat down in front of my office computer. “Your password has expired,” a server message flashed on my screen, with instructions for changing it.

Coming up with a new code doesn't seem like a big deal, unless you work at my company, where we have to change it monthly, using at least one uppercase character, one lowercase character, one symbol, and one numeral.

Oh, and the whole darn thing can’t be fewer than eight characters. And I can’t use any of the same passwords I've used in the past three months.

Suddenly I was furious. What didn't make it any better was that I was deeply depressed after my recent problem. Disbelief over what it had done to me was all I thought about. Every day.

That didn't mean anything to the empty input field with a pulsating cursor, waiting for me to type a password that I’d have to re-enter—many times—for the next 30 days. I remembered a tip I’d heard from my former boss. He’d said, “I’m going to use a password to change my life.”

I couldn't focus on getting things done in my current mood. There were clear indicators of what I needed to do to regain control of my life, but I couldn't heed them.

My password became the indicator. My password reminded me that I shouldn't let myself be a victim of my recent problem and that I was strong enough to do something about it.

I made my password Forgive@It.

I had to type this statement several times a day. Each time my computer would lock. Each time my screen saver would appear. Each time I would come back from eating lunch alone. In my mind, I wrote Forgive The Problem every day.

The simple action changed the way I looked at my problem. That constant reminder of reconciliation led me to accept the way things had happened at the end of my day and embrace a new way of dealing with my depression. As the month wore on, I felt a slow healing begin to take place. By the time my server prompted me to reset my password the following month, I felt free.

One month later, my dear Exchange server asked me yet again to reset my password. I thought about the next thing that I had to get done.

My password became Readbook@month.

I read a book a month.

This password was a painful one to type during that month, but doing it helped me to yell at myself in my mind as I typed that statement. It motivated me to follow my monthly goal.

One month later, my password became Save4trip@Dunedin.

Guess where I went three months later: Dunedin.

Seeing how these reminders helped to materialize my goals kept me motivated and excited. While it’s sometimes difficult to come up with your next goal, keeping at it brings great results.

Lesson learned? With the simple repetition of unlocking the computer, we will be able to make incredible things happen. Thanks to this method.

My latest password?

Life@Change - Life is gonna change again soon.

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