I write these words to you from Kalahari where I am spending two days and a night with my daughters. The reason I am here is that one of them is on winter vacation (they don’t get a break in December but rather they do it now instead), and the other one used the opportunity to put herself on vacation. A perk of working for your parents, I suppose.
As soon as we walked through the doors, I was assailed by memories of our last foray into Kalahari, which, judging from our Google photos, was five years ago in February 2018. Allow me to be the first to share that a number of things have changed here at Kalahari-land.
Specifically, there have been a number of technological upgrades. Each patron now gets a wristband that also contains a chip which opens the door of your room by waving your wrist in front of the door. You can also use this wristband to quickly get access to the water park without having to wait on line, and you also use it to check out your towels at the waterpark and to check them back in when you’re done, kind of like a library book. Everything is automated via your wristband.
I’ve noticed that there are also QR codes all over the place. For example, you can conveniently roll over in bed, aim your phone at the wall above your night table, and scan your QR code to order pizza to your room. (Unless, of course, you keep kosher, in which case you will instead pack one whole suitcase with a sandwich maker, two kinds of bread, to accommodate various palates, cheese, pre-cooked pasta, fruit, yogurts, water bottles, cereal, milk, and enough snacks to fuel an entire army.)
Now, I am definitely an adopter of technology. I find it very cool and exciting, and I am always pumped to upgrade, tap, swipe, and automate. But I do have to admit that it feels slightly creepy to wave your chip and have everything about you stored somewhere in a vague database in the cloud. But that’s not really my point. My point is that businesses, or at least well run businesses, are constantly upgrading.
If we came to Kalahari after five years and everything was exactly the same, it would mean that the business was not doing well. A good business always has to figure out ways to make things cooler, faster, easier, smarter, and more efficient.
Rabbi Dr. Akiva Tatz says that everything in the physical world is a reflection of a spiritual reality. So this whole dynamic reminds me of this: just as a motivated and ambitious business owner should not, and would not, be happy staying the same, so too an efficient and motivated human being should likewise not be satisfied with hanging out at a plateau. It is an axiom of Judaism that we should always be looking around and trying to figure out how we can improve, streamline, upgrade, and infuse freshness into our spiritual practice.
Because guess what? Inside each one of us is a little chip, and it’s called a soul. Your soul animates and records everything you do. In it is stored every experience you will have, every word you will say, every act of kindness that you perform. Everything we do impacts our chip, so small that no one can see, yet so powerful that it’s the boss of everything.
So let’s keep thinking. And let’s keep dreaming. And let’s always keep upgrading. Because a chip on your wrist is a big deal.