Ah, the good old “Vulcan nerve pinch”, the three-fingered salute, the one-handed solution to many backhanded aggravations. How simple, how effective, how instantaneously gratifying to the mind behind the mouse.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could take the lessons learned from this simple three-point process into our lives and install them into our own hotkey set-up to help us deal with life’s little blue screens of death?

Well, we can, provided we are willing to use a little creativity, allow ourselves some literary leeway and don’t mind stretching an already strained metaphor until it squeals for mercy. Shall we begin?

First Key: Control

One of the most important things we need to remember about life is that we have the ability to assume and maintain control over about 98% of it. We can’t change our genetics (at least not yet, anyway). We can’t change our birth parentage. And we can’t change the occasional act of God that goes down in our vicinity. Other than that, it’s pretty much our show and how we manage in life is determined to a great degree on how willing we are to accept this reality and deal with it in a wise and responsible manner.

Of course, the flip side to having control is taking responsibility. If it’s not in your hands, then by default it’s not your fault if it doesn’t work out. That’s a powerful motivator for most people to keep their hands as far away from the keyboard of life as they can get them. It doesn’t always get them far, living that way, but at least they can always pretend like there was nothing they could do about it. Acknowledging your ability to determine your own fate is scary – and saddening, when you realize how much you lost holding back in the past. But the sooner you take control, the sooner your life gets back on track. So grab the mouse of self-determination and lets move on to the second key.

Second Key: Alternate

If there’s one cool thing about life and the great big Universe we live it in, it’s that there are always alternatives. Of course, sometimes we don’t like to see that because then we’d have to choose (see Control, above). But if you’re willing to stick your neck out a little bit, you might be surprised how far you can see over the bowed and huddled shoulders of those around you.

Among the thousands of alternatives we can choose from, we have options in how we behave, in how we believe, in how (or whether) we work and who we decide to love. We can choose to step away from generations-old prejudices and fears, turn away from unnecessarily narrow paths of advancement and set our sights on far flung shores of being that our companions are afraid to even consider reading about, let alone visiting. Hey, it’s not such a small world after all and you’ve got choices coming at you six ways from Sunday. What’s your next move?

Third Key: Delete

Sometimes we screw up. Sometimes we screw up big time. And sometimes we screw up so bad that we’re genuinely surprised when the smoke clears and the Universe hasn’t been vaporized into a cloud of sulphurous fumes. But that’s okay. Sulpher happens. What really matters is how you deal with it and how you let the experience affect you. If you carry it around on your conscience like a poorly written and bloated piece of malware that slows down every process you undertake, then life is pretty much going to suck for you for a very long time. Do it long enough and the bad code can get etched into your brain, flashing mental pop-ups at you at every turn telling you what a stupid, messed up idiot you are and sending up error messages every time you even consider trying to move up a notch or two on the evolutionary ladder. Bah, humbug.

Luckily, we have the power to delete bad files and overwrite bad code with sounder, more productive applications. Why stick with a program that’s not working for you? That’s what the virus cleaners in life, such as therapists, coaches and inspirational material of all sorts and sources, are for.

So scan your disk for errors, defragment your thinking and if all else fails, remember the power of three. The three keys to life, that is: Control, Alternate and Delete