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Of Smart Phones and Dumb Users .....

April 16, 2013

It is interesting how human beings tend to not communicate with certain people until they find themselves caught up in a situation that requires them to “remember” those people arises. I admit, I have done this severally, and even you, if you will be honest with yourself will admit that there are people you have in your phonebook that you haven’t spoken to in years; some you probably can’t even remember where you met them, how they look like, or how they ended up in your phonebook. True or false? Anyway, that’s not what I want to talk about today. I just thought I should mention this because three days ago, I found myself in such a situation.

I’ve been thinking of doing a research on private versus public schools in Tanzania, but then I realized there’s a lot of details I need but I don’t know where to get them. While I was thinking of a solution, I remembered I have a friend who has a private school right here in Dar Es Salaam, and thought of calling her so I can set up an appointment to see her with my list of questions. The thing is, prior to me calling her a few days ago, the last time I had communicated with her was over a year ago, and I was not even sure her numbers still worked, a situation that would have been different if I had kept constant touch with her. Luckily she is one of those who never changes her numbers and so I was able to get through to her and we even met on the same day.

As we were talking and catching up on what’s been going on since we last met, she got a call and as she picked up her phone to receive it, I saw she was using an iPhone. Obviously, my assumption on seeing her with an iPhone was that she obviously uses all the facilities/functions that come with that phone, the most basic one after calls and sms being Internet. It didn't matter to me whether it was an iPhone 3, or iPhone 4/4s or even the latest iPhone 5; as far as I was concerned, she was current. Anyway, as we talked and got towards the actual reason why I had asked her to meet me, she confirmed to me that she had all the details I had asked for and that she would send them to me the next day. So I gave her my email address and asked her to send me a test mail from her iPhone so that I could officially give her a list of all the details I was looking for. Her response to my request left me dazed; to quote her “I don’t have internet on this phone. I only use it for calls, text messages and taking photos”.

What?!?!? How can someone have such a smart phone.. no scratch that. How can someone have an iPhone but only use it for calls, text messages and taking photos? Why invest in such a powerful and expensive phone (both in initial purchase and its maintenance) if you are not going to use all its unique and smart features? If you ask me, she could have bought a Nokia 3310 (if they still make them) and a Kodak camera instead, and they would have served her just fine. Now, if this is not a classic case of “Smart Phones & Dumb Users” then I don’t know what to call it. In fact, I jokingly told her these exact words when I realized what she uses her phone for. Luckily, she found this funny and just laughed it off.

But then again I know this lady is not alone in this. So many of us portray a similar kind of ignorance when we do not perform as we should in life, not because we cannot, but simply because we have not activated the potential we have in ourselves. Today you find several people working in positions that they are over-qualified for not because they cannot get jobs they are really qualified for, but because they DO NOT WANT to put in the hard work that is required for that position, or they are not ready to be accountable and responsible for their in-action, should it happen. So they opt to remain monochromatic like the Nokia 3310 instead of functioning like the super smart iPhone series!

Some stay in one position in the same company for 30 years not because there are no opportunities to grow vertically, but simply because they are content in staying where they are. In other words, they have created a comfortable seat their comfort zone, doing the same thing over and over again and getting the same results. 

Its kinda like having a sleek looking Bugati, then using it as a taxi to ferry people from point A to B. Seriously? Is a Bugati a car to be used as a taxi? This is a lifestyle vehicle; a vehicle that you show case once in a while, but you do not treat it like your normal Toyota Mark 2, commonly known as “Baloon”. For luck of another word, that would be some serious mistreatment of this sleek car....

When you know you are capable of doing something with your life, or at your place of work, or even in your business, but you keep holding back for whatever reason, then you are no different from my lady friend, or the owner of the Bugati mentioned in my second scenario above. You are totally mistreating yourself by not assuming the rightful position you should. You are not only doing yourself an injustice, but in the process, you also do an injustice to many other people who are meant to thrive on what you were put here on planet earth to do.

Like I said in an older article I had done sometimes last year, if you were meant to open a factory but instead of opening a factory you are busy working as an office clerk, all those people who were meant to be employed in the factory you are not setting up, where do you expect them to get jobs from? In short, when you dwindle in your purpose in life, you also cause others to suffer, which creates a ripple effect because they in turn cause others who were meant to ride on their purpose to suffer too.

You may come back to me and ask, but Liz, where will I get the money to open the factory if I don’t have enough? And my question to you will be; have you put your idea on paper? Have you worked on your plans to the poing where you can now say that the only remaining area is the financing part? I’ll tell you what someone told me several years ago before I set up my own company; “You don’t need money. All you need is an idea and the money will follow you”. These were some of the wisest words someone has ever shared with me.

In conclusion I will ask you this one question, where do you belong? In the “Smart Phone Dumb User” category, or in the “Smart Phone Smarter User category”?

Whatever the case, I am wishing you all a Smart Week!

PS: Article published in Tanzania's Guardian on Sunday on the 14th of April, 2013, under my weekly column "Thoughts in Words"




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sometimes words to punch below the belly, i feel like you have talked about me and my refusal to unleash my full potential.
I have to let go my Nokia 1280 and get an android enabled phone after reading this. I have given excuses so many times why i dont chat during the day, why i only get to facebook at night while i could have a fone that can multitask.

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