A Piece Of Myself

I spoke in class today about how two weeks ago, my cell phone broke. I was at work on Tuesday and was receiving notifications from the USA vs. Belgium World Cup soccer match that was going on. I picked up my phone with my welding gloves to check my notifications, and dropped it flat on its screen and shattered the touch reception screen behind the glass you actually touch. After work I raced home to see if the game was still on and we had gone into overtime. I made it back in time, but was constantly worrying about whether or not we had lost until I could reconnect with the TV or some sort of information source. More important that the soccer match, my sister was to be married on that Saturday. I had received absolutely zero details on where I needed to be for the rehearsal dinner or when I needed to be there. It made me feel helpless and brought up some anxiety. I reflected back on this experience during the retreat day to the day and a half that I was forced to go without my cell phone. Without what had become a piece of myself. Being connected to others is a huge thing for me. I am a socialite. If I am incapable of attaining the information I need for the plans that I have made, I stress out, and get into a bad mood. While being without my phone, I felt like I was missing something that had been a part of my life since I was 16. When we become accustomed to something, it becomes second nature for us and we start taking it for granted until we are forced to do without. I got towed last Friday due to street sweeping, and was without transportation. I missed a day of work while trying to retrieve my car from the city impound lot, and again realized my dependence on it. I have never been denied these technologies before. I almost feel bad that I have become so reliant on these conveniences, until I remember a lesson my uncle taught me when I was very young. He never went to college, never worked any white collar job making insane money, but he is one of the most intelligent men I have ever encountered. He started two separate businesses from the ground up and has had nothing but success. When I stayed with him for two weeks one summer, I helped out in his shops and he let me in on the secret as to why he has been so successful. He told me, “Work smart, not hard.” It took me a while to understand what he meant, but he went on to explain that he didn’t need a college education to be good at something, and he doesn’t have to break his back either. He simply used the tools available to him at the time to get the jobs done in the most efficient, economic way possible. He used connections in Mexico to start his sailboat tour business, and researched small business tricks to make it grow. I don’t feel bad about my use of technology. They are conveniences that make everyday life easier, such as instant communication, transportation, and even just sustaining life such as the availability of food in restaurants and at home. In “Better Than Fixing Things”, the Amish make a conscious choice not to partake in these conveniences, but are still accepting of others who do.



  1. I feel the same way you do about using technology. Some people might think that our usage of technology is excessive or unnecessary, but I think that human nature is to take the easy route. If I had the option to use a hand ax or a chainsaw to chop down a tree I would use the chainsaw. As your uncle said “work smart, not hard.” Why should I break my back chopping that tree down if I could just use the chainsaw?

  2. some times you learn more by working harder then working smarter. this is not a comment on life style but i have alway approached this concept whit this perticular mind set. i have used tech my whole life and i have alway felt a little empty inside. i don’t mind using a chainsaw but i will never know how much hard work it takes to bring down a tree with my bare hands and a ax. sometime hard work allows you to gain experiences that you may not have had before. tech may make your life easier but i not sure it makes your life better.

  3. I wonder what this world would be like if everyone had the mindset, mentality, and motivation that your uncle has. A couple days ago I heard that phrase “Work smart, not hard” while conducting research and it stuck with me. I am fairly lazy and like to find the easiest (smartest) way to deal with a situation or perform a task and it is pretty crazy how much more work you can do in a given amount of time while still producing quality work.
    It almost seems the smarter you work, the better use you get out of your technology.

  4. I think working smarter rather than working harder is one-side concept. People learn from both and these two concepts are interdependent. If everyone works smart, then there would be no architects, factory worker, cooks, farmers, and other blue collars. On the other hand, if everyone works hard, then there will be no CEO, computer programmers, teachers, and other white collars. So I think that the way you learn depends on the way you are.

  5. Great post, and I love the idea of work smart, not hard because it’s true there is always a easier way to do something you just need to find the right tools. Working smarter will also get you more money but you sometimes need to work as hard as you can. This will give you pressure because you don’t always want to be in a relaxed state.

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