I learned a new vocabulary word this week and have had fun using it because I find it so unique. The word refers to “bricking” your phone. To brick one’s cell phone means to damage the phone’s ability to function to the point that it basically becomes useless, as useful as a brick. A bricked phone, like a brick itself, can be used as a paperweight, but that’s about it. Any ability to make a call, receive an email, run apps, or go online is no longer possible if your cell phone is bricked.
This phrase came to my attention when Apple released its new operating system, iOS 8, this past week which is now available as a free download to all iPhone users. I use my iPhone a great deal for work, to keep in touch with family and friends, to keep track of appointments, to keep up with email, and in a host of other ways and so I was initially excited about the fact that a new operating system was being released. I was looking forward to upgrading to the new operating system–or at least I was, until I started reading messages that warned that the new operating system could damage one’s phone. The warning said that is some rare cases, phones were becoming “bricked,” meaning that some users found that the operating system malfunctioned, rendering their phones useless.
All computers and cell phones require an operating system to function. The operating system runs all the time and is what enables all other functions of a computer or cell phone to happen. Every computer and cell phone comes with an operating system already installed and without it, it would not be able to function or be of use to its user. Most users of computers and cell phones simply use the operating systems that were originally installed with their devices and never make the effort to upgrade or improve their operating systems when the opportunity becomes available.
All of this thinking about operating systems for cell phones and computers got me to thinking about how you and I function as well. In a sense, each of us has an “operating system” which runs in the background of our lives and actually runs all the other functions of our lives. For you and I, that operating system is our core values, our spiritual beliefs, and the guiding principles that serve as the foundation for our lives.
If a person has an operating system that is based on loving one’s neighbor as one’s self then in all likelihood positive relationships will develop with friends, family, work, and with one’s wider community. If on the other hand, a person has an operating system, a set of core values and beliefs, that is self-centered, believing that the point of life is to get the most and give the least, then relationships will suffer in all parts of his or her life. A person’s operating system influences all other functions of that person’s life–either positively or negatively.
What can we learn from this? Just as with our phones, we can upgrade our personal operating systems any time we like. In fact, enhancing our spiritual and emotional lives requires us to do this on a regular basis. We do not have to use the operating system we are currently using if it is not serving us well. We each get to decide for ourselves what operating system we want to run our lives. But just as I learned about cell phones this week–be careful to choose wisely so that the operating system you install will indeed increase your functionality and enhance your life.