Operating Systems

My wife and I’ve been married for over 10 years now. My wife and I are like chalk and cheese. We have very little in common, other than our 2 beautiful kids, our educational degrees, and questionably deep knowledge of hit songs of flop 90s Bollywood movies. 

I’m a ‘Cobra Kai’ and ‘The Witcher’ kind of person and she is a ‘Bigg Boss’ and ‘Anupamaa’ kind of person. I can gobble every sweet in the house in one sitting while she would be fine not eating anything if not for sustenance. She was a National level table tennis player and I was a National level Quizzer. I need a constant struggle to keep me going whereas she is a model of contentment. It is a miracle that we got married and are still together. 

A couple of years into our marriage, we did a couples exercise on our values at the behest of my then employer’s HR. It was no surprise to either one of us that my keystone value was Freedom and hers was Discipline.

It took me 6 – 7 years and finding it articulated as Jocko Willink’s book title (Discipline Equals Freedom) to understand that both of us are seeking the same thing from life but through very different means.

When I experienced it articulated that way, I realized 2 things. 

One, we had two wildly different ways of approaching the same outcome. Second, I was holding one piece of the puzzle while there are more pieces needed to solve it.

That realization was like acquiring a superpower, like a fish discovering water, or air for that matter.

Where am I going with this? 

All of us want the same thing. Some form of sovereignty, some form of playing God. We want to create and control. Sometimes our destinies, sometimes ourselves, sometimes others, sometimes an infinitesimal part of the Universe.

And all of us have internal personal operating systems that guide us in our quest. For some it is discipline, for some, it is freedom, for others, it could be status, power, persuasion, or service. 

Because these operating systems are inbuilt and evolve with us as we grow, they are almost never properly articulated.

And for the same reason, unless intentionally acted upon, they are flawed and never optimized. 

We are essentially like Windows Vista with no documentation, no user guide, and no roadmap to Windows 11.

The premise I want to leave you with is this – 

What if we could not only choose our operating system but also actively design it and update it regularly for our betterment and benefit.