With good options, there is hope. A feeling of hopelessness is a latent demand for a good option.

A good option is a potential action which clearly aligns with your interests. Clarity is the key. In an ideal environment, acting according to your interests takes little effort. You are aware of your interests, you see the origin and outcome of your options, and so your actions have a high value to you. This seems like a fantasy world.

Reality is usually a mediocre environment. Poor options are everywhere, carefully presented by those looking for an advantage. There's so much pressure to just take these options and move on that your interests become muddled and unimportant in favour of sustaining existence. You probably learned long ago that better options take great effort and energy to fully uncover and is a task for the young.

If only there was something you could do now. Something simple, like a button to push to get what you want. A button to solve any problem you had. One you could push as many times as you wanted to. That's a nice thought in the shower on a Monday morning.

Whether or not this thought is a fantasy depends on how you look at that button. If it's a button on your shirt, there's not much to say. That's the wrong kind of button. But if it's a button attached to a computer, there's a lot of things that might happen. Some people push buttons and move around billions of dollars. Others could push buttons and launch nuclear weapons. Lots of people are mashing buttons as they argue on the Internet. It goes on. But none of those things are what you're looking for.

The button you want doesn't change the outside world. The button you want is attached to a very different vision of a personal computer. The way to look at this button is that each time you press it you get a small slice of what you want. You solve a tiny part of any problem you have or take a small step toward your goal. So you have to keep pushing it, or you won't get anything. It's the habit of pushing this button that will give you what you want.

You might now be tempted to imagine pressing the button as if you were setting an old digital clock back three minutes. But it's not about pure meaningless speed. The rhythm of the button press is to match the rhythm of some part of your life. A bit like a metronome, but in reverse. The computer is listening through that button to pick up your rhythm.

Now you might be thinking about how rich and detailed and complex your life is, and how ridiculous it would be to mash that button all day, jamming with your new-style PC like a twisted video game. And that would indeed be ridiculous because your life is not a solid stream. There's a structure to it like how a song may sound layered and complex but to our ears and to a computer it is a linear series of events, one at a time, of varying amplitude or frequency, in quick succession.

In life we do one thing at a time, occasionally switching to a different track. Our actions are often repetitive and regular with necessary routine filling up most of our day. Despite how layered and complex it feels when we look inward, we can still pull out the separate simple tracks to our recording that are otherwise entangled. Each track of our life is a series of similar actions with a unique significance and rhythm. One track might be when you drink a glass of water. Another might be when you go to the bathroom. Those two tracks will have an occasional strong correlation.

But what we can't really do is go back into the past and start pulling our life's tracks apart. That doesn't work very well so there must be a new beginning. What does work is that any person can begin at any point in their life by choosing a personally relevant track. Once that track is chosen, the button is pressed for each action so the computer can learn its rhythm. And so we too can learn the rhythm. Then when both have internalized it, another track can be added. And on and on, well past what this metaphor can support.

This process, when mixed with what a computer can do with the accumulating information, will get you what you want. The computer is able to look at the accumulated layers of tracks - the set of choices you've made or actions you've taken - and translate the relationships and rhythms into possibilities of what you could do. The result is that the computer does the hard work of discovering good options while leaving you with more energy, a deeper perspective, and a brighter future.

What you've been doing is gradually developing an ideal environment. The only information the computer has to work with is what you have voluntarily provided: nothing is needed from the outside world, and nothing need be shared with anyone else. It's easy to be hopeful when you always have a good option at your fingertips.