In 2012, it dawned on me that I had lived on the East Coast for four years. My promise to myself was that I would return to Seattle after five years. We had a beautiful house in Baltimore and life was very comfortable, even though I had a love/hate relationship with the mid-Atlantic and felt like a fish out of water most of the time. A call from a Google recruiter and a life-changing family event prompted me to action. I started the job search that would bring me to Microsoft in ernest. And I changed my password: Seattle2012.
Microsoft’s technicians, Lutnick recalled, knew that they needed to take advantage of two facts: Many people use the same password for multiple accounts, and these passwords are typically personalized. The technicians explained that for their algorithms to work best, they needed large amounts of trivia about the owner of each missing password, the kinds of things that were too specific, too personal and too idiosyncratic for companies to keep on file. –The Secret Lives of Passwords
I moved back to Seattle in August 2012, four months shy of the five-year anniversary of our move to the East Coast. Since then, my passwords are tied to goals I want to reach in any given year. Last year’s password came to pass, and I fully expect the one I have set for 2015 to materialize, too.
My passwords manifest intention. This intention, typed several times per day, influences my mind set, changing my behavior. So it’s no surprise that I found this New York Times feature on The Secret Lives of Passwords fascinating:
“Mauricio Estrella, a designer who emailed me from Shanghai, described how his passwords function like homemade versions of popular apps like Narrato or 1 Second Everyday, which automatically provide its user with a daily reminder to pause and reflect momentarily on personal ambitions or values. To help quell his anger at his ex-wife soon after their divorce, Estrella had reset his password to “Forgive@h3r.” “It worked,” he said. Because his office computer demanded that he change his password every 30 days, he moved on to other goals: “Quit@smoking4ever” (successful); “Save4trip@thailand” (successful); “Eat2@day” (“it never worked, I’m still fat,” Estrella wrote); “Facetime2mom@sunday” (“it worked,” he said, “I’ve started talking with my mom every week now”).”
Maybe I’ll send Ian my story.