Be like the Roomba®

For those who missed it, the Roomba® is a semi-magical device that automatically vacuums the floors in your house. It works by sensing walls and changing directions. It’s also known as a popular ride for cats.

For today’s productivity tip, I think we can learn a lot about emotion-proof decision making from the Roomba®. So often, when something doesn’t go our way, we get really upset. We run into the figurative wall and then we bang our heads against it. We pout, we point fingers, we blame ourselves. We sit there, angry and frustrated, with our heads leaning against the wall.

So how can we learn from the Roomba®?

The Roomba® doesn’t get upset when it runs into a wall. It is programmed to sense the wall and simply change direction. What would happen if you lived your life like that? Instead of feeling sorry for yourself or beating yourself up, what if you simply kept moving (in a slightly different direction)?

The only way to take emotions out of the equation is to give up some of the ego. When we have expectations (and base our future happiness on them) we set ourselves up to be disappointed. And when things don’t go as planned, we think it’s because we are flawed and we take it personally. But the wall doesn’t have to be proof that we suck. The wall can simply be a sign that it’s time to change course, even if just by a few degrees.

The Roomba® doesn’t take the wall personally, it just changes direction and keeps living it’s purpose, which, as far as I can tell, is to be an excellent cat ride and a mediocre vacuum.