I got my first computer, a Commodore 64, in 1983. It only took two years before I upgraded it to a Commodore 128. Upgrading is part of technology, but gadgets aren’t the only things we upgrade. We upgrade cars, wardrobes, and houses. We seek to move up in our careers and build better relationships. We even seek to upgrade our lives.
I’ve found that the same rules for upgrading technology apply to other types of lifestyle changes. Here is what I learned.
Upgrade when you need to
I depend on my laptop for writing, finances, and many other critical tasks. When my 13-inch MacBook Pro from 2016 started conking out, I had to replace it with a new one. I’m fortunate that it waited until Apple put good keyboards back in their MacBook laptops, although I would have liked to have waited until the Apple Silicon Macs came out. I couldn’t be without a computer, so I found a current 16-inch Intel MacBook Pro on sale.
We are often forced to upgrade. When my doctor told me last year I needed lose weight or face serious health issues, I went to work. I’ve seen people who hit rock bottom from substance abuse and got clean, those who lost jobs and started new careers, and those who suffered unspeakable tragedies and found strength through purpose. When whatever you’re used to or feel comfortable with no longer works, it’s time to upgrade. You seize the opportunity because you have no other choice.
Don’t sell yourself short
A general rule in upgrading is to buy the best product you can afford. Buy less than what you need for the long term, and you will find yourself needing another upgrade sooner than you expected.
When I shopped for a new MacBook Pro, I could have stuck with the 512 GB of storage I’ve had in my first two computers. But when I looked at my data, I found it took up half the drive! I got 1 TB, twice the storage, because it gave me room to grow for the future.
Consider your future goals and needs when choosing to upgrade. Looking to start a family? A four-door sedan or SUV is a better choice than that cool two-door sports coupe. Choosing a career? See what opportunities the field has in the next 10 years. You’re not just buying for today, but for as long as you can plan to use the device or other thing you plan to do.
Upgrade when it broadens your opportunities
My next planned contribution to Tim Cook’s swelling fortune is the iPhone 12 Pro. What’s wrong with my iPhone 7 in rose gold that pays tribute to my mom? Nothing. But the new iPhone enables me to do so much more. From little things like being able to take it to the spa without worrying about it falling in while struggling to have Touch ID read my pruny fingertips, to big things like producing high quality video for online interviews and YouTube. Upgrades answer the question, “Why settle for good enough when something much better that enables you to do more is available?”
So many of us stick with what is familiar and comfortable that we pass up on what can make our lives better. We trudge through jobs that offer steady paychecks and little else. We stay planted on the couch watching reality TV shows. We don’t challenge ourselves to look for better opportunities, getting active, or finding our own joy instead of living vicariously through celebrities. We let inertia take over. Eventually, we find the routine that makes us comfortable also makes us feel trapped.
We should always look for ways to better ourselves and explore new opportunities. By going outside our comfort zone, we can find ways to make our lives better.
But know when to be make the best with what you have
We’ve all heard of FOMO, the fear of missing out. It drives people to line up in front of the Apple Store every fall. They have to be the first to get the latest gadget, even if the changes are minor over the model they have. We also see people hop from job to job, have a new relationship every week, and spend more than they can afford to stay in style.
But what they’re missing out on is one of the most important upgrades you can develop—making the best of what you have. When you’re limited on resources, you develop innovative and efficient solutions. When you’re in a difficult situation with someone, you resolve your differences instead of walking away. When you hit a roadblock in a goal that matters to you, you find ways to work around it instead of giving up. An upgrade isn’t always getting something new. It’s using what you have in better ways.
Attitude is your most important upgrade
Upgrading technology enables us to accomplish new tasks and handle our current ones quicker and more efficiently. Each gadget upgrade from my Commodore 64 to the upcoming iPhone 12 Pro has given me new opportunities and opened creative possibilities for me.
More than any object, the most important upgrade we can make is our attitude. We need to recognize when our lifestyle no longer works for us and a change is needed. We need to ask for what we want instead of settling for what we think we deserve. We cannot pass up on opportunities because we’ve gotten too comfortable with where we are. But we must also recognize when change isn’t needed, and it is better to make the most of what we have.
When we upgrade our attitude, we can clearly decide what tools and resources we need and when to make replacements. Knowing how and when to upgrade is an important skill for life as well as technology. It helps us make wise choices that can help us grow.
One more thing…
Another thing in our lives we can upgrade is our government. Whether you want changes in how things are run or keep things the way they are, your vote is your voice.
November 3, 2020 is a crucial election in the United States, and the pandemic and other issues will make voting challenging. It’s important that you make sure you’re registered and have a plan to vote. If possible in your area, vote early.
One helpful resource is vote.org. Also check with your county’s Registrar of Voters. Democracy works when we participate. Vote.