Those of us over a certain age remember this multipurpose tool as an effective replacement for the worn and broken television knob. Yes children, televisions had knobs that were used to tune into different channels…all three or four of them. After a few years of twisting and turning the knob too and fro, the plastic slot that fit over the tuner stem would wear and/or crack, rendering the knob itself useless. Enter the handy set of pliers from dad’s tool box. The tool sat on the television stand at the ready when it was time to navigate from The Price Is Right to the day-time soap operas. I imagine those of you from families that could afford to replace the television did so in earnest. For others like my family, we used the pliers until the metal stem of the tuner itself wore down. The pliers, because of their multipurpose use, exist today. The television knob…not so much. It, as you know, was replaced by the remote control unit.
As far back as the late 1800’s, inventor Nikola Tesla described remote control technology in a U.S. Patent and Zenith Radio Corporation created the very first television remote in 1950. These disruptive innovators endeavored to solve problems and enhance comfort and convenience. Today, Panasonic has developed voice-activated televisions with facial recognition technology. Tomorrow remote controls will join the TV knobs in tech heaven.
Examples of innovation and useful disruption on various scales are all around us as models of how we can and should live our lives. A disruptive technology is one that displaces an established technology and shakes up the industry or a ground-breaking product that creates a completely new industry. Innovation is a new method, idea, product, transformation, metamorphosis, etc. This is all scale-able to the personal level.
Centuries ago man looked at the moon and said, “damn it, I want to go there”! And we did. That’s innovation and motivation on a large scale. As artists, creators, educators, leaders, managers and contributors, we should always endeavor for disruption and innovation. Unless your position in life requires obsequious service, you should push yourself, your craft or your organization toward transformation. Self-motivation is the time-proven cure for stagnation. Ensconced in comfortable positions, happy to collect a pay check or simply survive to the next day is a reality for many. Sameness can be as comfortable as an old fuzzy blanket. Comfortable yes, but not necessarily useful or healthy.
Motivation pushes us to achieve at higher levels, feel more fulfilled and improve overall quality of life. People who are self-motivated tend to be more organized and have more self-esteem and confidence. Be it intrinsic motivators like having fun, being interested or creating personal challenges; or extrinsic motivators like money, power or high marks, self-motivation can help you take control of many aspects of your life. Take a moment to take inventory of your life. If there is a way for you to be more useful to yourself, your employer, or your organization, do it.
The TV knob wishes it was still relevant. The TV knob wishes it could have found a way to be of continued service to manufacturers. The TV knob wishes it hadn’t just hung around and waited for the remote to replace it. Don’t be a TV knob. Get out there and shake shit up.