The Positive Password

I was asked to re-post this article, a piece that I penned about two years ago. It's just as timely today - and hopefully just as helpful. - Dom


Brian had an argument with his wife one morning, just before going to work. By the time he arrived at the office his feelings had already meandered this way and that, alternating between anger, frustration, and - finally - regret.

Sitting at his desk, he logged on to his computer and stared at the screen. Like many companies, security demanded that employees change their password every 45 days, and the pop-up notice informed him that today was the day.

That’s when the idea hit him.

He changed his password to: ForgiveMe&LoveAmy.

So, for the next six weeks, every time he logged on he would have a quick reminder thathe should be more forgiving of himself and more loving to his wife. It didn’t take long to realize how powerful this was. When another 45 days went by, he changed his password to Save$LoveAmy.

Brian created a ritual, one that he was guaranteed to follow through with every day. He set about to change his life, visually reminding himself of two things that could positively impact his world.

It’s a remarkably easy - and yet effective - technique. If you think about it, we generally grumble whenever we have to change our passwords; we’ve almost run out of clever ways to incorporate our dogs’ names or children’s birthdays. Why not use this obligatory task - one that we often dread - to subtly better ourselves?

It’s not like we don’t stare at screens all day.

And, since we all seem to require multiple passwords, you could tailor each one. Your office password might contain something about your profession that you’d like to improve. At home it could be something about your relationship. Maybe another could target your health.

With a new year it could be Walk10000! Or how about BePresent! Or ListenMore16!

Six weeks of positive impressions, followed by six more, then six more. For me, I’m going to start with Write800!, a gentle reminder of my target word count each day. It creates a digital mantra that you have no choice but to repeat again and again.

What if you couldn’t log on to Facebook without reminding yourself to LightenUp! The rest of us might never again have to read a political rant. (A boy can dream.)

I love the concept. Maybe one of my first passwords this year will be ThanksBrian!