Reach For The Sky

Reach For The Sky (Photo credit: allyaubry)

I recently came across this first person account of a man who tied his work-required password changes to personal, life goals. Following a divorce, the struggling author changed his password to: ‘Forgive@h3r’. After typing the passphrase over and over again, for a month, he had done so. He used the same technique to quit smoking, save for a vacation and, eventually, to get engaged, again.

It’s a simple solution. However, I never thought of it; neither, probably, did you. But, it bears all the hallmarks leading up to achievement: set a goal, establish focus, produce repetitive tasks to achieve the end result.

And, its effectiveness likely extends beyond the objects of the lovelorn. Lawyers could use this method to improve their calendaring (ALwaysCRE@te-TickLERS), to engender better staff relations (Bnic3r2MANDY) or to develop their technology competency (Learn5NEW#Wordtrix).

The use of special characters, reflecting case sensitivity and applying passphrases means that these aspirational passwords can be just as secure as standard passwords. There is, as well, an additional level of security: Most users tie their passwords to more easily discoverable personal information (street name, birth city, schooling); short-term personal goals are not as entrenched a part of your online life — and may never make it online (especially if you fail), or may make it online only after you have achieved your goal (the virtual pat-on-the-back), and have already updated your password, to reflect your changed circumstances.

Do you want to accomplish something when you’re otherwise stuck? Try typing it over and over again for the next month, to see whether you can convince yourself of the efficacy of the challenge.

Of course, Bart Simpson has been shown this technique for more than two decades — and yet, it doesn’t seem to have had an effect.

. . .


So, what’s stuck in my head this week?

The criminally underrated Steve Earle’s ‘Feel Alright’.

On the wire.