Preserving traditions

Why is it so hard for us to remove things we don’t use?

To maintain tradition.

Because we don’t have to make decisions.


A few weeks ago we painted my office. And I took down everything I had on the walls.

It looked nice.

Although that’s irrelevant to today’s topic.

The thing is, once it was painted, I had to re-hang the stuff on the walls.

And I had a wall clock that I had to re-hang.

It used to be hung with those tapes that stick to the walls.

But I had to go and buy some more.

So while I was thinking about it, I left it leaning against a wall lamp that I rarely turn on.

Until one day I turned it on for a while.

It turns out that the wall lamp is halogen. And it gets really hot.

So, when I realised, the plastic of the wall clock was all deformed by the heat of the bulb.

Conclusion 1: I have to replace the old wall light with something that uses less energy.

Conclusion 2: I have to decide what to do with the wall clock.

This wall clock is an Echo wall clock. A wall clock that connects to Amazon’s Echo, Alexa, devices.

I don’t quite understand what they need so many brands for. Couldn’t it all be Amazon?

So it syncs with the echo device I have on my desk.

Why do I want the wall clock?

Yes, it does funny things like turning on little lights to show how many minutes I have left until the alarm goes off.

And at the last minute it turns off the same lights, but second by second.

But, actually, the Amazon Echo Show I have on the table does more or less the same thing.

Apart from being able to tell it to set the alarm, to turn on the desk light to work or to turn on the study light to make a presentable appearance in online meetings.

It also displays the time.

And, when there is an alarm connected, during the last 10 seconds, it shows me on the screen something that simulates those balls hanging from threads that are colliding with each other. One number less every second.

The wall clock doesn’t really do anything for me.

And it forces me to make holes in the wall.

Or, at least, to go and buy tapes to stick it to the wall without making holes.

The reality is that I didn’t use the clock… but I still found it difficult to remove it.

It took burning the base for me to rethink whether it had any use.

I think the reason it’s so hard is another reason.

To take back what we don’t use is to recognise that we have made a bad decision.

In this case, a bad purchase.

And, of course, we don’t like, or I personally don’t like to admit my mistakes.

And for that reason I can keep, sometimes for years and years, things that are of little or no use.

Like applications installed on my computer. Which are even migrated from one computer to another when I have to change it.

And it doesn’t just happen with my computer.

I’ve also seen it in corporate applications of large companies.

You ask yourself, what is this doing here?

Why, if you have this other software that does the same and more, don’t you just abandon this old application?

Usually you get all sorts of lame excuses.

But in the end the reason is: because at the time we decided and justified and fought for this. If we now withdraw it, it will be like betraying our own decisions.