It was five days and a half without Internet. For those who do not know, I am from Uganda. We had our presidential elections five days ago. With four days to the election, a presidential directive was given and social media was cut off. Having seen the trend, as Ugandans, we knew that was going to happen so we prepared and downloaded VPN. Not one but up to three different ones. Just incase! Thank you VPN providers!
So even if social media was off, it was on! Hahaha! Little did we know it was going to go a step further. In hindsight, we should have seen it coming but I guess we were hopeful. So the evening before the elections when we were truly minding our own business, we really were, at about 7.30pm,we experienced a total internet shutdown. It’s funny but the sound of the silence was so loud.
The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear.Rumi
Now mind you, I can not say I am a person addicted to internet. I can go days without going online or so I thought. It was so surreal. I didn’t realize that we use internet for basically everything. No wonder the United Nations decreed Internet access as a universal human right. I was looking at the 4 days election holiday as a time to catch up on my weekly goals.
So imagine my shock when I realized I needed internet for almost everything. To schedule blog posts, Internet! Finalizing my quarterly goals implementation plan, Internet! Designing a writing coaching program, internet!
I want to first of all give a shoutout to all those who achieved their PhD’s before the mid 90’s. You guys are my heroes. Imagine having to do research for a particular topic and having to read hundreds of books from beginning to end so that you find the answer in the middle of a paragraph in one chapter somewhere towards the end. I had gotten so used to calling up my friend, Mr. Google Sir, only to realize it was impossible. You know, Mr Google Sir is downright awesome!
So I went old school- actually sitting down and thinking and researching physical management books. My laptop changed call signs to a typewriter. It was used for just one thing-typing. It was also the rebirth of SMS. Young ones, did you even know what SMS was? It is that which was before Whatsapp and all messaging apps. You will not imagine that since we were also anticipating an electricity blackout, we charged all devices. Guys, my phone battery lasted two and half days. Imagine that! I did not realize how attached I am to all these devices to be productive.
Hello darkness, my old friend I’ve come to talk with you again Because a vision softly creeping Left its seeds while I was sleeping And the vision that was planted in my brain Still remains Within the sound of silenceThe Sound of silence~ Simon and Garfunkel
It may sound all bleak and dreary but you would not imagine I have had a time of my life. No, I am not going to tell you to make lemonade out of lemons but in this scenario, I believe that it is what we have done. We have connected with people everywhere via calls and sms. It’s funny, with internet we have better communication abilities but because it is readily available, we do not use it. Here, now without internet, I have connected with my people with just a Hi! You do not understand the power of a hi!. In this season, it is everything.
Books,books,books! I love books. I live on books but most of my books were saved in the cloud so I had no access to my online books. What has saved me in this time is that I had downloaded some books and of course there is nothing better than the actual book- you know that book you can hold in your hand and smell the paper. Yes, that book! I have caught on reading books that have been on my reading list since last year.
I have gone old school- you know that pen and paper. I kid you not within the first 15 mins, my fingers were paining but there is something about writing with a pen versus typing. It’s like your mind opens even more and that is how quarterly goals got done and transferred to the laptop. I have actually enjoyed this forced technology blackout. I can’t say it was going to be this way if I hadn’t gone through 2020 and its immense seasons of self-discovery. I have learnt to move with the times ,with what is placed before me and well…..yes, I gotta say it…..make lemonade from lemons.
Isn’t that what life is all about? Change management? We would like to say that we are totally comfortable with change but let’s be honest here, we are not. Change is not easy! I had gotten used to a certain way of life and thus having to shift and move things required more,so much more. It required me to change my mindset towards many things.
Robin Sharma in his book, The 5AM club- the book that has been on the reading list for awhile says that we have four interior empires that we must master- Mindset, Heartset, Bodyset and soulset. The mindset is our psychology, the heartset our emotions, the bodyset our physicality and the soulset our spirituality. Just here right now writing this blog post that will be published next week when internet is back….yes, I am working my mindset and believing that the shutdown would be over.
I have realized that change is inevitable but how will I embrace this change? Will it be with a heavy and aggravated heart or an embracing heart? There is a word going round since last year- Pivot! Hahaha ,pivoting is not just about business. It also relates to us as a person. Learning to move with the flow, to change with circumstances and change for the better. Eric Ries says,” It is a change in strategy without a change in vision”.
So this year, I am purposing to pivot. To change my strategies but keeping my eyes on the prize- the vision. I hope you will join me on this journey. That in 2021, you have purposed to change, to pivot areas in your life that require it. Because if you don’t, a situation, a lockdown, a silence can occur that will force you to and believe me, it’s not funny. So cheers to pivoting. Because that’s who we are. Come on, say it with me. This is me!