‘A ship in port is safe, but this is not what ships are built for. – Grace Hopper
There is nothing inherently good or bad about a hammer.
It is useless if it’s left in the drawer–paintings left to collect dust in boxes, Ikea dressers disassembled in their original packaging, a calendar lying unhung halfway through it’s calendar year.
It is only a tool, and it is useful only when it is being used. It can be used in so many ways, but there’s only a few things it was made to do: drive home nails, take out nails, smash things. Of course, you could also carry it around and use it to knock on people’s doors with, as a back-scratcher, to play catch with.
But those last few aren’t ideal. They’d get the job done in each of those last few scenarios, but in an extremely inefficient way.
There’s a few ideas here I’ve been mulling over that seem to apply to all tools:
1. Tools are made to be used.
A pot was made to be cooked in.
Paintbrushes were made to paint with.
Running shoes were made to run in.
Tools are only useful when used. Don’t let them sit and gather dust.
2. Tools are made to be used in a specific way.
You could use a speaker as a chair, or you could sit on a chair.
You could use a butter knife to cut a watermelon, or you could use it to spread butter.
You could use your desk as a space to write a book, or as a dumping ground for wrinkled clothing.
Each option would work, but which one is a pleasure and which one causes frustration? Impatience? Using a tool for its intended use makes things simpler and more efficient.
3. Tools are neither inherently good or bad.
You could use a hammer to hang some shelves… or you could use it as a murder weapon.
You could use your iphone to share photos of your creations… or you could use it to waste time refreshing your facebook feed.
You could use your legs to propel yourself in a swimming pool… or you could kick your neighbor.
You could use your brain to empower you, or you could use it to produce degrading thoughts about yourself.
You could use your hands to create a sculpture, or you could use them to pick at imperfections.
4. Tools are everywhere
Almost everything is a tool. That is to say, there is a way to use it. From literal tools like a wrench, to everyday items like combs, to every part of your body and your mind.. these things are here to enhance your experience of life, if you use them, and you use them for good and not evil.
The value lies in the usage. The user decides how to use the tool. Therefore, the value is created by the user. The decision, the power is in how you choose to use the tool.
Use the tools at hand to enhance your life and the lives around you.