The 80s was a time where anything was possible. Computers were still a huge unknown to the world — much less the Internet which was something only used in its infancy by an elite few — imagination was still key. Phones were bigger, fashion was insane, and many of the problems that seem to plague our world today were more commonly seen in action films than they were in the news.
But when there was a problem, there’s one man who we knew would be able to find a solution no matter what.
His name? MacGyver.
In all seriousness, I’m not joking all that much here. There IS a lesson that we can learn from an 80s TV hero — no matter what situation he was in, MacGyver would be able to use what seemed to be a random assortment of items around him to make an escape device, as unbelievable as the combinations might be.
For example, in the first episode alone, he manages to:
- Disarm a missile with a paper clip;
- Raise a fallen I-beam with a knotted fire hose filled with water; and
- Stop a sulfuric acid leak with milk chocolate bars
To see a full list of just how unbelievable it could get, I suggest you click here: http://www.macgyveronline.com/pages/macgyverisms.html
But like I said, there’s a lesson to be learned:
The best tool is the one you have with you.
For most of us children of the developed world, it’s physically impossible for us to carry everything we own with us all of the time — and why would we want to? All of our gadgets, clothes, tools and accessories may fit in the back seat of a car — but what good is that to you in the middle of a meeting? When you’re in a restaurant on a first date? Or — in a worse scenario — if you car happens to get stolen? It’s just impractical.
Which is why we need to make the most of whatever tools happen to be with us at any particular time.
Things are way different now than they were in the past. Our phones are no longer just phones. Where we would once need to carry a bag full of tools, they can be simplified into a series of handheld devices. While the camera on an iPhone is light-years away from the complexity of an SLR camera, and a combination of YouTube and Wikipedia is no replacement for real-life experiences, we’re a lot closer to carrying just about everything we might need in a typical day in our pants pockets or purses. I should know — throughout time I’ve probably had every gadget you can think of, from laptops to camera,s, graphing calculators to dusty encyclopedia sets — but I soon found that a lot of it was simply overkill for most life situations — everything in life can only be so convenient or be so useful.
I guess the lesson here is to really consider how serious you’re going to get about something before you start investing in it to get better equipment. Will you ever drive fast enough to warrant getting really high-end parts for your car? Do you really need the top-of-the-line laptop when all you’re going to do is surf the Internet and write essays?
You might think that getting faster, shinier and more powerful tools will solve your problems, but oftentimes, the best tool is the one you have with you right now.
–Casey E. Palmer