The Re:set button is a missed analogy
Designer’s point of view on the recent political, economic, and social shifts
If you don’t yet have your opinion on the “The Great Re:set” strategy, watch this documentary, The New Normal.
I’m not affiliated with the makers of this movie in any way. My wife shared it with me after almost crying on it. Then my friend shared it .Then another friend shared it… long story short; it became a big deal.
“The Great Reset” is a fine idea. There is so much wrong with our planet and the way we live. The inequality, the hunger, the healthcare system, the lack of privacy. I’m sure you see these too.
It would be great to push a reset button on all, many, or at least one of the world issues, and see it fixed. That would be a big thing, but what’s next? What’s after the reset? What will the world be like after the lights go up again?
The “Reset” is a wrong analogy.
The way we frame things matters
Two years back, I would ignore the importance of framing concepts as much as I do today. In the design space, the way we pitch ideas defines their success or failure. It’s a very challenging skill because it forces us to be mindful of more than one context.
More than one context??! How to expand my field of view, you might ask.
Good question. You will have to answer for yourself because your answer depends on your circumstances: work experience, culture, and, unfortunately, your race, nationality, religion, and the place you live.
It’s possible and never too late to expand your skillset.
That’s the good news!
On a personal note
I’m a software designer, and I work remotely from home for the last six years. According to The New Normal movie’s creators, my career choice puts me ahead of the change curve at this point, but it wasn’t like that in the past.
I’ve started with print design over sixteen years ago and moved to the advertising after a few years. When User Experience and User Interface Design started to become more popular, I’ve trained myself in it.
Now, I’m transitioning towards engineering. My goal is to expand my overall understanding of the development space rather than becoming a full-time engineer, but the time will tell where I’ll end up.
It looks like technology is here to stay. It shouldn’t be a disappointing long term direction regardless if I land in front-end, back-end engineering, data science or machine learning.
At this point, my expanded skillset provides a broader field of view.
Still, I’m far from being done about where I stand as a professional, designer, husband, dad, and the guy next door.
Why do I say the “reset” analogy is not a good one?
Say we “press the reset button”, what do we expect to happen next?
The reset implies a magical restart in a new reality where everything works.
The reset works for the computers only when there is a minor issue with the memory or continuity of code execution. Resetting will not remove significant problems, like bugs in the code or missing functionality.
We won’t wake up the next day after the reset and be better off than yesterday. The last time I checked, the world we live in is buried in deeply rooted problems of the big kind.
The reset ain’t going to work for the world! Won’t work for us.
We need to press a different button. The “Turbo” button!
The change is hard
Let’s face it, we are not made for change. We like to get used to our lifestyles and optimise towards less work.
The change is not a relaxed process. Change is hard, and it requires analytical skills and techniques! We often need to distance ourselves from what we know to spot the biases we subconsciously depend on. It’s a struggle, and we don’t like to struggle. We are not built for pain, and in consequence, we are not built for the truth.
Our world represents who we are, and the most challenging type of change starts with us, with you and me. It’s easy to point at governments and wealthy 1% demanding change. After all, they must change, but we are OK.
Those of us who are not OK
We don’t wait or count for a magical reset to take care of the change for us.
We hack, starting from the daily routine and ending on the lifelong plans.
Maybe, we can’t change the geopolitical situation in the world. Still, when we adjust our mental state, skillset, and value output, we should influence it by a small percentile.
The dark side we don’t want to talk about
We can’t start making changes without opening one can of worms, which not coincidentally is the most spiteful subject in the history of the human race, the failure.
To make changes, we need to try new things, experiment and wonder out of our comfort zone. We will misstep or lose the path altogether. Sometimes we make unrepairable mistakes and burn unfixable bridges. Progress has its price as everything else.
If you are afraid of failure, don’t pursue changes and don’t be surprised when others will pass you on the way.
Jeff Bezos sunk billions of dollars in unsuccessful companies, and he is not hiding it. He is also very open about the analytical approach towards failure. His strategy is based on the bias for action, curiosity, and ownership and can be summed up in:
- Take calculated risks. Most decisions are revert-able.
- Learn and grow to find better ways to accomplish more with less.
- Never say, “it’s not my job”.
My final thought is this —when we look at our lives, the past and the time we have left, what is the next best moment to press that Turbo button!
For me, the time to press the Turbo button was the same day I realised how much I’m not too fond of the alternative of hanging behind.
I’ve started learning as much and fast as I can, for hours a day on most days. I’m turning myself into someone who craves new superpowers and abilities. I’m building up new habits and routines. I plan, live in the future, and purposefully think about where do I want to be in a year or two from now?
And most of all, I manage to find happiness in this process of becoming a better version of myself. I wish you the same and more. Good luck!