What If This Isn’t a Problem?

My cat Trixie and I got a new laptop last week for our copywriting work and Story Shaping projects. She likes it as far as I can tell, though she did find the process confusing.

There was the time I spent opening the box, hooking up the cords. Then I had to copy and transfer files from my other laptop. Plus, I had some older equipment in another part of the house that I was going to clean and take to electronic recycling.

The best way to get all of that done was to sit on the floor. That’s what Trixie didn’t understand. She crouched toward me, as if something had gone wrong and was unsure what she would find when she reached me.

Apparently, Trixie thinks I am a creature of habit, and she has concerns when I do things differently. She eventually realized that all was well, though – nothing to see here. She moved along.

Sometimes when you look a little closer, you may find that what you think is a problem is not a problem.

During my laptop transfer, I discovered an issue. A big one. Or seemingly so. A newsletter project came in that I needed to proofread. It was in a PDF file, and as soon as I made a comment in the document – a proofing correction – I discovered that my name in the comment box was spelled “Minni.”

This was the start of a long process to figure out what was wrong and how to get it right. Because all I knew at this moment was that I could not tolerate having my name misspelled as I made proofing corrections.

It seems that, as I set up my laptop, Microsoft created a user folder with the first five letters of my email address. This is what they do, and changing the name of that folder, looks like, is a huge ordeal. So here’s how I started looking at things:

“This is a problem for everyone.” (Or a lot of people.) If Microsoft has created defaults where people can’t control how their names appear, this would be a problem for millions of people. If this is a problem for millions of people, Microsoft (and a bunch of techies) would provide instructions on how to correct this issue that is bothering me, and I would be able to find these steps in Google. All I could find, however, was a few very complicated instructions dating back more than a year. That is the evidence, to me, that this is not a problem for everyone. Therefore, what if…

“This is a problem only for me.” If this is a problem only for me, what that means in technical terms is: I am the problem. Whenever I seek technical help that is not answered in the FAQs, it often ends as a local issue, or a user error. However, I didn’t do anything to create this folder – it’s a default – which led me to the possibility that…

“This is not a problem.” I started to ask, “What if this isn’t a problem?” That was the most interesting idea of all, and the one I finally explored. Clearly, I don’t want it to appear as if I misspelled my own name as I make proofreading corrections, but what if the name on the main folder is not really a concern? That had to be the answer, and indeed it was … because I realized that inside the PDF software I could change my name to whatever I wanted to. I didn’t have to stick with the default.

So, you can take your own takeaways from mine and Trixie’s laptop upgrade. Yet I will tell you it was very helpful to ask myself, “What if this isn’t a problem?” It’s a lot easier to settle into a transition when you realize you don’t have to fix the thing that, in the moment, looks like a huge ordeal.

Enjoy your magnificent journey.

– Minnie Lamberth
The Magnificient Journey
Vol. 2, Issue 36

P.S. If you missed it, here’s the link to Sunday’s 2-minute video, during which Trixie makes another “cameow”. Watch here: https://storyshaping.co/video-letting-go/

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