Recently I found myself in Beijing reflecting on the question of “filtered” Internet. In my case, no, Youtube, Google Drive, New York Times, Diigo, Twitter or access blogs. Even my trusted VPN proved deferential to the great firewall.
Now, I love China. I spent 17 years of my life there. We both grew up together. I learned how to manage change, when to press forward, when to step off, and when drink tea. It’s an art form that we all need to practice, the stepping off, not the tea drinking. Beijing is part of me and I definitely am a better person because of it.
So I asked myself, what if your regular workflow no longer flowed? What if suddenly your regular tools did not work effectively? Would your life or your work be less meaningful?
Upon extensive reflection and numerous cups of tea, I decided, no, your life would potentially be even more meaningful. You would find a new workflow. You would find new tools. Yes, it would take time. You might be less efficient, possibly be a little less informed, and you definitely would be a lot less entertained! Yet, these could be good things.
You would learn a lot about yourself. Life moves pretty fast and with a changing learning curve, you need to be able to size up a situation quickly. You need to know your boundaries, both hard and soft. With limited resources, you would be better at judging your capacity. In an Internet of limitless possibilities, it is easy to get overwhelmed and a little lost.
It would be frightening. Your trusted tools/friends might leave you at any time. You would need to be open to taking risks. You would be responsible for something that works in a new way or possibly does not work at times. You would definitely shore up the troubleshooting and problem solving part of your resume. You might even find yourself asking, “Do you really believe in a process or a particular product? Is this really worth my time?” Nothing like a little challenge or change to illuminate the obvious.
Creativity and innovation would flourish. Outcomes would still need to be reached and decisions made. Responsibility does not end when someone filters your Internet. It would force you to think and use your imagination to accomplish tasks. When you continually meet challenges, you become accustom to alternative ways, other points of view, and any help you can get at all. Often the Internet gets in our way and slows us down.
If you find yourself in an Internet filtering or constantly changing situation, focus and self-discipline are your allies, not to mention a strong cup of tea. Concentrate on the how and the why and less upon what is no longer available or what you lost. If you can navigate change and balance creativity, innovation, and imagination, you will ensure life long learning. Knowledge is a process, not something you can Google!