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The Original iPod Shuffle Analogy
The first generation iPod Shuffle was released in 2005. It wasn't very large; maybe two and a half inches long and shaped like a USB flash drive. It was designed to be easily loaded with a small selection of songs and play them in random order. There was no screen to see which song you were playing or listening to. One could select specific songs by hitting the "next" button until they found the song they were looking for. Otherwise, the music was random and unpredictable.
When I first received this devise, I immediately set out to upload all my favorite songs onto its hard drive. At the time, I had accumulated thousands of the coolest songs on my parent's desktop computer. Initially, I rushed into the process and just hit "automatic upload". By the time I had maxed out the Shuffle, I think I was halfway through my collection of ACDC. This was unacceptable.
I deleted all the songs from the Shuffle and started handpicking my favorite songs to include in my playlist. Again, I maxed out available space way before the end of my compiled stock of music. Since some of my favorite songs came long after "M", I grew frustrated and again deleted all the music from the device. I would have to be more strategic about my song selections.
The third time around, I figured out that I could fit about 150 songs on my iPod Shuffle. Before I chose the songs, I went through each artist and made a list of the songs I liked. Then, I refined the list by choosing 150 of my topmost songs. These were the songs that I knew I couldn't live without. Setting up my Shuffle perfectly, I loved the selection and never grew bored.
At this point, you're probably thinking, "Ugh, thanks for the enthralling story about your first iPod, but how does this relate to your philosophy of life?" Well, I'll tell you. Unbeknownst to me, thanks to the original iPod Shuffle, one of the greatest realizations of my life occurred. I call it the "iPod Shuffle Analogy":
You see, the iPod Shuffle and its songs are a lot like life. We have to be careful what files we upload onto its limited space. In life, we have many options available to us. To name a few, there are many people to form relationships with, many paths of education, and many different hobbies one might pursue. We can't have them all. There just isn't enough room.
We need to be careful what songs we choose for our Shuffle. If we upload just the first few options available, we will limit our listening selection to one or two specific types of music. This will quickly grow boring. It's important to have a nice variety for your listening pleasure. Furthermore, if we allow songs from many different genres to be uploaded at random, there are likely to be many songs we don't enjoy. They will create wasted time and space in our lives. Finally, if you let someone else upload your music, you will be listening only to what they like. Sure, there might be a few good songs, but you'll never get to learn what you enjoy, specifically.
It's important to think our selection through. Even if we have a vague idea of what we enjoy and want for our future, narrowing down the possibilities will increase the likelihood of good songs in your playlist. If you aren't specific about what aspects of life you enjoy and want more of, you might end up listening to cruddy music. Be careful where you send your attention and energy, for it will manifest in unknown ways further down the road.
Once you've refined and uploaded your favorite songs, what you want for your life, it's important to listen to them. It's one thing to upload the songs. It's an entirely different experience to listen to the music. Being a dreamer is just the beginning. There is more to life than having thousands of songs stored on your computer. Soon, you'll have to take action. Listen to the music you've chosen for your playlist. Learn the songs. Refine your tastes and interests. Enjoy the lyrics as they move with the melody. This is living life.
As you listen to the music, the experiences you will have in life, you will have two options. The first option is to force a certain experience. You can do this by skipping through the list of randomized songs until you find the specific song you are looking for. This creates some anxiety, for you tell yourself that you won't be satisfied until you hear the particular song. When you find it, you are strangely satisfied that you have accomplished this feat. However, you quickly desire to hear another specific song and continue shuffling through the list until you find it. You have set up your life in an enjoyable way, but your satisfaction is short lived and your desire breeds further longing.
The second option is to relax and listen to the music you've selected. You realize that you have already set yourself up for the best possible experience. You may have a desire to listen to a specific song, but when you let go you can finally hear the music. A song will start to play that you hadn't anticipated. You find that it is actually better than what you would have chosen for yourself. You continue to let go and the next random song turns out even better.
The music starts to move you in unexpected ways. Your hearts fills with passion and you realize that this is what life is all about. We set our lives up like an iPod Shuffle. Once we upload these songs, it's time to let go. Those who don't, tend to be stressed and never satisfied, longing for more. Those who let the music play at random, experience the playlist in ways greater than they could have ever imagined.
Do you have too many unnecessary songs on your iPod?
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