Many moons ago (that’s a very long time ago for anyone who might be a Millennial, Gen X or Gen Z) when I was employed at a law firm, brand new computers were being introduced to the staff. In order to use our new computer system, we had to have weeks of very thorough training and were tested throughout to confirm that we mastered not only the new terminology but all the new equipment and computer programs. We were not able to begin using the new computers unless we had a proven comprehensive understanding of our new system. That’s a law firm for you – and quite honestly, the way things should be done if you want efficiency in your employees and in your workplace. Invest in them and they will invest in you! Our firm was well known for its high standards, quality employees, and top-notch performance.
We had the privilege of being taught all we needed to know about the new system by one of the best in the computer industry. We began our training by learning the basics of DOS. Yep – that is how long ago this was (mid 80’s).
Our trainer or as he was known, a computer wizard, began day one of training by explaining how we should view the computer. He heavily impressed on us that the computer will only be as good as the information you put into it. In other words, the computer will be an invaluable asset if the one who programs it programs it with accurate information. However, the computer will be worthless and highly inefficient if the programmer inputs inaccurate data. Hence the term, “Garbage in, Garbage out.”
I absolutely loved this analogy as it was a concept I could immediately grasp. Thankfully, we never had to do much with DOS and went on to learn the programs we would be utilizing daily such as Word Perfect, Lotus, etc. (I’m really dating myself now!) and left the technical computer programming to our highly educated and skilled trainer.
The concept of “garbage in, garbage out” had a profound impact on me and it has stayed with me all these years but with a much deeper meaning. I often found myself reflecting on it through various circumstances and felt that it is a concept that can and should be applied to anything in our lives. If we applied this basic philosophy to every aspect of our lives, we would be so very careful about what we expose our mind, body, eyes, and ears to because everything we allow to enter our bodies will either have a positive or negative outcome in our lives.