Garbage in, garbage out

“Garbage in, garbage out!” What an appropriate sign for the refrigerator – in light of it being our frequent source of nutrition. But that’s not why I posted it.

It was a saying that my high school computer programming teacher, Mr. Rendina, repeated with what seemed like arrogant and annoying frequency. It was the early 1980s, I was taking Basic, and Michael Jackson’s Thriller album and Madonna’s first album had just been released.

Rendina was stressing to his students that if your input (your programming) was off or inaccurate, that your result would also be off, inaccurate and nonsensical. So true!

And, as I matured and got over his attitude, the saying often repeated itself in my mind, as it was appropriate in so many other areas of life.

Eat junk food - your energy and focus suffer.

Talk negatively about yourself - you lose the confidence to pursue your goals.

Read or watch depressing stories - you feel negative or depressed.

And the opposite is true. Read life affirming authors - feel great about your life.

Write positive affirmations - feel positive about achieving your goals.

Eat healthy foods - see your energy and your mind expand.

I’ve since learned that Rendina did not coin the phrase, that it is a common phrase used in the fields of computer science and information technology. But he did like to torment me with it when I went to him with a programming glitch. His rendition of helping was simply to say, “garbage in, garbage out” and to send me off to find my error.

I designed an 18-hole golf course for the LGPA Championship in that programming class – the top golfers were Beth Daniel, JoAnne Carner and Jan Stephenson. I built it with simple if-then statements that I don’t remember how do to anymore. I do remember I made a lot of mistakes and I had to go back and reprogram again and again. The completed game wasn’t super interactive, as I pre-programed the standings. If you chose to be Beth Daniel, you always won!

While we can’t always simply program our lives to win every round of golf, we can program ourselves to keep the garbage out.

Simply put, we are responsible for our lives. We can take positive actions until we get positive results. Continue negative actions or responses, then expect to continue to get negative, nonsensical “garbage” results.

Now if only I could figure out a way to program my own golf game to always score below par! But, ahh, yes, that would require positive inputs – like practice and lessons!

Daniel Island Publishing

225 Seven Farms Drive
Unit 108
Daniel Island, SC 29492 

Office Number: 843-856-1999
Fax Number: 843-856-8555


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