Editor's Note: Get Yourself Motivated

Aug. 5, 2014
A simple password change was one man’s biggest key to accomplishing his goals

Want to be a great manager or business owner? Want to accomplish your goals and be a success? Want to stop procrastinating and get something done?

Frankly, who doesn’t?

Just because you say you want to do something does not necessarily mean it’s just going to happen. Personally, I wanted to quit smoking for years before I actually stomped out my last cigarette butt. When it comes down to it — and this goes beyond just your job — accomplishing the most difficult tasks in your life requires the proper personal motivation.

I bring this up because of an article I read recently on TODAY Health — which is a web adjunct of NBC’s TODAY Show — that had a profound impact on the way I see self motivation. While it’s not specific to security, I think it can affect you the same way; after all, we would all be better off with a new tool for self motivation.

The article is by Mauricio Estrella, who lives in Shanghai and works as a graphic designer. Interestingly enough, his entire technique for self motivation was spurred by a typical (and often annoying) IT security procedure — the monthly “changing of the password.” Many of us know the feeling when we get the dreaded email with the subject line: Your password will expire in 5 days. Most of us just change one letter of the password; in fact, someone I work with confided in me that she knows exactly how many passwords she has had since the policy went into effect because she was on “pass@word17” — I guess pass@word18 is only a month away.

Anyway, Estrella did the same thing for years until he changed things up. According to his article, he was going through a nasty divorce that had plunged him into a deep depression. “As the input field with the pulsating cursor was waiting for me to type a password — something I’d use many times during every day — I remembered a tip I heard from my former boss,” he wrote. “And I decided: I’m gonna use a password to change my life.”

He writes that his password became the indicator of what he needed to do to change his current mood and lifestyle — in short, motivation to achieve his goal. “My password reminded me that I shouldn’t let myself be victim of my recent break-up, and that I’m strong enough to do something about it.”

He changed his password to “Forgive@h3r” — and of course, he had to type it multiple times every day. “In my mind, I wrote ‘Forgive her’ every day, for one month,” he wrote. And wouldn’t you know it, Estrella’s mood started to improve, he dealt with his depression and came out a month later a new person.

So Estrella embraced this concept; and his company’s IT security team kept it fresh! His next password was “Quit@smoking4ever,” and wouldn’t you know it, he kicked the habit in less than 30 days. The next month rolled around and he changed his password to “Save4trip@thailand” — he was on a plane to Bangkok three months later. It has gotten to the point where he is anxious and excited for the day he gets to change his password.

“It (had) a great impact in my life, so that's why I'm sharing it with you,” he wrote. “If you try it with the right mindset and attitude, maybe it could help change your life, too.” You can read the full article at www.today.com/health/how-password-changed-one-mans-life-better-1D79878606

I’m not saying this will work for all of us — heck, most of us are pretty self-motivated to begin with. But Wayne Gretzky, probably the greatest hockey player in history, said it best: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

Paul Rothman is Editor in Chief of Security Dealer & Integrator magazine (www.secdealer.com).

About the Author

Paul Rothman | Editor-in-Chief/Security Business

Paul Rothman is Editor-in-Chief of Security Business magazine. Email him your comments and questions at [email protected]. Access the current issue, full archives and apply for a free subscription at www.securitybusinessmag.com.