what’s in a name: tool or toy?

Jun 8, 2021

it’s a common practice to name toys as a kid. a teddy bear wasn’t just another teddy bear. it was my teddy bear and i'd rather have mine than any one else's even if it was a brand new one.

This is my rifle. There are many like it but this one is mine. My rifle is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. Without me, my rifle is useless. Without my rifle I am useless. I must fire my rifle true.
Rifleman’s Creed

replace the gun with your favorite toy and you’ll feel the same sentiment. i don’t remember what my teddy bear was called but i do remember it having a name.

tools or toys?

as adults we stop playing with toys and we start playing with tools instead. whether it’s heavy machinery or digital software, tools are an adult’s idea of a toy. maybe we’ve forgotten that though?

tools induce stress
toys inspire bliss

imagine if you could reframe your tools as your toys and thus eradicate stress from your use of it. it’s not easy, but is dead simple really. just think of it as a toy.

everytime you refer to it as a tool, correct yourself and address it as your toy. this is my note taking toy. this is my toy for writing. this toy helps me calculate percentages when i am doing my taxes.

try this reframe for a couple of weeks before it settles in and you don’t need to catch yourself every single time. think about how it feels when you hear the word toy ring in your head vs the usage of the word tool.

my name is…

nobody had to tell you to personalize your toys as a child. but i’m here having to tell you to personalize your tools..err toys today.

my three constant companions are my phone, tablet (iPad) and laptop. which i affectionately call Pappu, Tabu and Lappu. not my imaginative best. but extremely effective at making every task tackled using them feel like they’re there to help me.

and a name comes with a persona. Pappu is playful and distracting and all over the place, so i’m not expecting focused movement when she’s with me. she's exciting and there's never a dull moment with her around.

Tabu is a specialist at seduction and enraptures me into watching movies and binge watching seasons for hours. i can definitely get lost in time when i’m with her.

Lappu is a work horse. she knows how to get me cranking and channelizes my attention to things that will make me happier in the long run. she always has my higher goals in mind, even at the expense of instant gratification.

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even my trusty steel mug in which i drink coffee and cocoa during the day and green tea through the evening has a name - MM (mug munde). he's cold as steel and tough as nails and reminds me of myself.

neither the name nor the associated persona is vital to the task or game at hand. but i think it is the most important thing in the world. it makes me feel like i’m not alone in this. i’m assured of a certain energy by invoking the persona associated with the name.

if we’re going to spend our lives working with these tools or rather playing with these toys, would you not want to get to know them better? let’s make friends with our toys today 🧸

btw, i just wrote this entire post so i could crowd source this query: what should i call my new e-ink tablet and my back scratcher?

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