Monday, April 7, 2008

The widget: Lowly app or stepping stone to a higher plane of problem-solving?

I've been thinking this morning about the intersections of discussions I've been involved in over the last week. And much longer. The subject matter has run the gamut from economic reform and radical overturning of the role of the designer, to the impact of the mobile web as enabler of individual creative expression and the obvious rumblings of hunger pangs as more and more people are exposed to the concepts put forth by Tolle and other spiritual teachers: live in the now; focus on the problem at hand; let go of your delusion that you can control events in the future.

I can't help but see an increasing correlation to the way in which Widgets, powered by the widespread adoption of the iPhone and fueled by the iFund and others, are bursting on the scene and could well serve to change the way people think about problem-solving and how to manage their daily lives.

Widgets make it easy to stay present because they force us to accept a limited sphere of control. Widgets keep us focused, dealing with the issue at hand, with a clear end in sight, in the present, not future.

It's the oldest psychological coaching in the world: Got 6 problems or issues or needs to fulfill? Keep them separate. Chunk 'em down. Tick 'em off one at a time. The beauty of widgets on a mobile device, carried with you wherever you go, is that small needs can be met on the fly, as they arise. And what are big problems, typically, but small problems that were not dealt with early on? Our reliance on and ease of using Widgets could solve that.

The biggest obstacle to living in the present is an inability to let go of the outcome, to let go of our self-delusion that we can control the events of the future. If, through our daily use of widgets, we become comfortable with knocking down challenges and choices as they arise, solving them simply, one at a time, we may well find ourselves naturally fulfilling that most elusive bit of advice for happy living: Take care of today and tomorrow will take care of itself.

I can see it. Can you?

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