Monday October 4, 2021

Apple or PC? I’m told it is important to be prejudiced towards one or the other. Cats or Dogs? We are supposed to prefer one over the other. I like them both, just like I use both Apple computers and PCs. But there is a difference.

The big difference is the ‘User Interface’ – how we interact with the computer (or the pet!) GUI means Graphical User Interface. My preference here is strongly towards the Mac. It is more beautiful to my eyes. One could argue that both do the same thing – help us compute, but it’s the ‘way’ they do it that improves the User Experience. Cats and Dogs are similar. I love the way a cat purrs appreciatively, but I prefer the face of a dog that is pleased to see you. I’ve never seen such devotion on the face of a cat… merely recognition! Cats are rarely about you, whereas dogs radiate loyal unconditional love.

Which brings me to people. Most of us are pretty kind, and OK, but the ‘wrapper’ – the User Interface – is often very different. I’ve got some people in my life who I highly value and love, but the interface is rough, gruff, and hard to cope with at times. If they want to you do something, they’ll frame it in negative terms such as, “Why haven’t you…” rather the more palatable, “What would happen if…” or, “How would it be if…”

They’ve got a Gruff User Interface instead of a Gracious User Interface. This comes down to rehearsal more than nature. I have learned to be gracious. Perhaps that’s too bold a claim. I am learning to become ever more gracious with each upgrade of my Gracious User Interface. As such, I’m far easier to relate to nowadays than I was a year ago, a decade ago, or even 30 years ago. Oh, how I wish I could ‘re-parent’ my much-loved children. I was gruff and grumpy parent.

How can we upgrade from a Gruff User Interface to a Gracious User Interface? “Yes, And…” a principle I love and share regularly, is the fastest way to become gracious. Take whatever is offered to you and affirm it, then move it forward, expand upon it. Frame everything in terms of what you would like more of, rather than ‘discounting’ people by telling them in no uncertain terms what you don’t like. And ‘tip’ according to the service you’d like to receive. This means treating people ‘as if’ they’ve delivered excellence. Treat people as if they are amazing. Believe the best of people (without being naïve) and err on the side of hope. Above all, give people permission to be themselves. They need to become more like themselves and less like you – you are not the model of perfection!

Next time you find an interaction draining or ineffective, check your own User Interface first. How easy are you to deal with? Are you adding energy or blocking it? Make every encounter with you an enriching experience. Oh, and be quick about it. My Apple computer is faster than my PC and always has been so in spite of all the claims to the contrary. It just works. How I want to be: fast, friendly, fabulous!

A Moodscope member.

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