No. 598

The next password is ucan



In the days before the word processor and the computer came along, quite often we heard or used a term that I have not heard in years. The term was "put it in file 13." In case you are not familiar with this saying, file 13 is the waste basket. While I'm not sure where this saying originated, I suspect that when a piece of paper or other document could not logically be filed in one of the pockets set up for each of the 12 months of the year, it just went into a "catch all" or even a "junk" file, thus file 13. This is pure speculation on my part, and you may know the true origin of this term.

The reason I have decided to address this topic today is the tremendous amount of clutter that most of us are faced with each day of our lives. This clutter can come in many different forms, but if it's something that distracts us from achieving our goals or what's really important, we need to be as efficient as possible in dealing with it. This is the age of technology, and the computer has made life much easier for those of us in the information business and everyone else who wishes to communicate more effectively and efficiently.

The majority of us have learned, especially in light of the cost of postage these days, to send an e-mail rather than a typed formal letter. Several years ago, before I got a Web site, I used to e-mail this column to the newspapers that carry it. As you know, we don't live in a perfect world, and now there are many people out there who send us pure junk, and much of it filth, to clutter up the e-mail system as well. When I come to the office each morning, you would not believe the number of junk or clutter e-mails I have to delete before getting my day started.

We have learned from experience to never open an attachment from someone we do not know personally, because of the threat of a virus. I also get a lot of "forwards" from friends and acquaintances, and I am always grateful to be included, but because of the time factor, I delete most of these as well. I am also aware that many of my readers do not own a computer, and do not send e-mails at all. In reality, the computer, along with the option of having e-mail, is just a tool, and we can either choose to use it or not to use it.

In case you may have been wondering, here is my point. File 13 can be a powerful tool if we learn to use it in the proper way. For our emotional well being, we should not feel guilty when we delete an e-mail or throw something in the wastebasket that comes unsolicited, and takes our valuable time. It should be noted that our time really becomes "valuable" when we use it to help ourselves or someone else to improve his lot in life. It is even better still for those who work to improve the lot of humanity.

The late Earl Nightingale once said, "We are taught to save time, but we are raised to waste our lives." Over the past several years, I have really learned to appreciate a very special word in the English language. That word is discernment. When we learn to discern what is truly important and what is not, and can separate the wheat from the chaff, we are making real progress. As I have said many times since beginning this column, we can't really know what is important if we don't have goals.

Do you have goals? Are there still some things in your life that you would like to have or to be, that gets you fired up and presents a challenge, each day when you get out of bed?

Life is too short to not make the most of it, because the service we render is the rent we pay for the space we occupy. Keep looking up. Have faith in God, in yourself and others and do your very best at whatever you choose to do. That is where our real rewards come from and why we should learn to use the power of file 13. ---

(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, Ark. 72034. To support literacy, buy his book, "Learning, Earning & Giving Back.")

The next password is ucan