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Put The Fix Down...And Back Away Slowly
Used by permission from stevepb via Pixabay
It takes a Big Man to admit when he is wrong. I am not a big man.
Ever meet those people who just have to tinker? They have to continually test and change things. You visit their house one day and the couch is over there. The next day, it is over there instead. The following day it is back in the original position. The next time, you are served with a restraining order because you continue to enter their house without permission and please stop doing that.
Tinkerers are the kind of people who have to try a whole new security system, even though the one they have is perfectly fine. They have to try that shiny new Android phone, even though their iPhone works perfectly fine, and their entire ecosystem is Apple. They are compelled to always improve “well enough”, when we all know how good it is to “leave well enough alone.”
They are the First Adopters, the Boundary-Testers, the Trial Period Purchasers. They are The People Who Are Apparently Discontent With The Status Quo To The Point Of Consistent Upheaval. With some, it is a constant striving to better, to improve, to “upgrade.” By "upgrade" I mean thoroughly mess things up and make the wife throw things.
People like that annoy me. (Tinkerers, that is; not thing-throwing wives.)
Hi, my name is Josh Alexander, and I am a tinkerer, an early adopter, and an Annoyer. *ducks to avoid thrown thing*
We have a complete Frontpoint security system at our home, and it has worked rather flawlessly through 3 of our homes since 2012. By flawlessly I mean we have been burgled 0 times, kidnapped 0 times, and murdered 0 times. Given this rich resume of protection under Frontpoint, it would make sense to stay with Frontpoint. Right?
Not if your name is Joshua Alexander, Tinkerer Extraordinaire.
There have been so many "upgrade" ideas I have run past my wife over the years that have been met with eye rolls, I believe I have lost count. Sometimes she needs to grow extra sets of eyes just so that she can roll more of them. She is a most beloved arachnid.
But it is a paradox: I have to constantly change things or I will become annoyed.....but in constantly changing things I become annoying. Truly, a Catch 22. God bless my wife though: she humbly stands back and watches as I self-destruct, crashing and burning in a fiery wreck of molten lava and trial-period hubris. I get a reassuring pat-pat on my head, which is the language-of-touch equivalent of a condescending "I told you so", before she moves back to pursuing some doctorate or diploma or something collegiate while I untangle myself from the blinds. I once told her that my counselor assured me that I suffer from a deplorable case of "normal", and she replied, "Oh honey, don't worry...we'll get a second opinion." I am not kidding. This is a true story.
I recently got a wild hair to try Simplisafe instead. By wild hair I mean Mr. Hyde was longing for escape once more, yearning to wreak havoc on our existing and highly functional setup, because that is what he does: wreak havoc and make this Dr. Jekyll just a little bit battier through crazy-making.
Before my wife knew it, my wild hair had turned into an expensive order of an elaborate new Simplisafe security system, installed and running simultaneously with Frontpoint. Because one has not lived until one has 4,326 alarm sensors installed on their property and one gets to arm & disarm two security systems each day while they make up their minds. My wife thinks we live in Fort Knox. I tell her to stop complaining or she will get no more gold bars from me.
I guess, in the long run, trying out new things is not so bad. Information is power, right? I do not know what I do not know, and if I never try, I will never know. Had I never tried it, I would never have known. I just know that I never know what I know that I do not ever know, and not ever knowing that I never knowingly know what I do not ever know is...I do not know. You never know. There will be a quiz later.
But, in true Tinkerer fashion, I did end up trying Simplisafe, and it ended up proving substandard in every way. I confess I went slightly hog-wild in purchasing multiples of every sensor known to man, but in the end, it was all stemming from an unflagging belief that this would in fact be the new “best” for our family. Unfortunately, as is sometimes the case, it fell far short, like when one watches the latest Seahawks game.
Here is what happened:
- It was cumbersome to connect to WIFI, even though the router was 3 feet away, and even though access was relatively simple given my WIFI username is username, and my password is password. NOTE: Please do not share that with anyone; I have chosen to only post it only right here, safely, in my blog on the Internet.
- It was cheaply built. IMHO, God built Jello sturdier.
- The cameras would not stay connected to WIFI. See prior explanation.
- There was no real-time preview of cameras. I will never become Jack Bauer if I do not have real-time technology.
- Siri could arm and disarm my Frontpoint system, but she could only arm and NOT disarm my Simplisafe system. Too much and too little arming and disarming for me to remain sane.
- Simplisafe would not tell me which sensor was activated. In case my toddler runs out the front door to the street, I would like to not erroneously run out the back door to the swamp. That reminds me, I need to buy a new lasso.
- The keypad was cheap with a monochromatic screen. This is not 1936. I need color.
- Some entry sensors would not stay connected due to distance. Yes, I know Bette Midler's song "From a Distance" was a glorious hit...but this was not.
“Now, Josh,” you may be saying, “I like Bette Midler, and you are just being picky.” Fine. Maybe I am. I know there are starving children in the world, but come on. First World Problems need love too. On that note, some say love, it is a river that drowns the tender reed. But I digress.
Now…to be fair, have I made some productive and beneficial changes to our homes and lifestyle here and there? Yes. I had a giant fence built around the perimeter of our first home. I had our pointless foliage removed from the perimeter of our second home’s backyard, next to the fence. I had our fence painted white all around our third home. Apparently I am obsessed with fences and painting things white...at least that is what my therapist is saying. By therapist I mean the same one who maintains that I am normal.
The bottom line was that ultimately, we were already Simplisafe...with Frontpoint. We did not need to switch. But I wanted to try! Does curiosity kill the cat? Not always: this cat is still meowing just fine.
To clarify, I am not a cat.
If it Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It
Axioms are memorable so that we will remember them. “If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It” is one of the most memorable of all time, because as humans we like to tinker with and change things, sometimes needlessly. Out of either curiosity or striving, we mess with things that were working just fine, and we are capable of bringing ourselves and others needless grief as a result. Think of Tim Taylor in Home Improvement: constantly getting into trouble through noodling.
The sad part is that not a week after this whole Simplisafe affair, I did virtually the same thing by switching out our WIFI mesh system, and had to reprogram every single camera, Alexa device, smart lock, Ring doorbell, and smart plug...about 25 devices in total. I believe my therapist's beleaguered response to this was, "I just need to not look at you for a while."
As a voice talent, is this you?
- Do you spend endless amounts of time tinkering with your DAW, trying to constantly perfect your template for sound quality?
- How about your studio? Perpetually changing and moving things around?
- Are you spinning your wheels in perfecting your auditions, sometimes doing eight or nine reads before you finally feel like you have nailed it?
- Are you perpetually retooling your website or logo or imagery in order to attain some "final" level of satisfaction?
It is perfectly acceptable to leave well enough alone. After all, there are auditions waiting for you, and is that not why you are in voiceovers to begin with...to be cast?
To be sure, there is nothing wrong with desiring to improve. We are all wanting to get to that place where we "have arrived.” Just don’t spend an inordinate amount of time with self-assessment, or you may wind up in Analysis Paralysis. For any changes, go in with a plan of attack on said changes. Be specific. Have a clear end goal in mind. Envision the end result…and more importantly, stick to it. Otherwise, your quest for improvement can take you all over the map and suck hours from your life that you will never recover.
To sum up:
- Streamline your approach.
- Identify your end goal or target.
- Commit to disengaging when you have reached your goal. As Gandalf said to Théoden, “breathe the free air again, my friend.” Also: any opportunity I have to slip in a little Gandalf-speak, I will always pounce upon with a passion the likes of which no one has ever seen in Middle-Earth or Washington state.
“If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It.” If it IS broken, then by all means, fix it. But if it is not, why spin your wheels?
Update: I am still not a cat.
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