You might have faced the blue screen of death on your computer. And again and again. You soon realise that maybe your motherboard is fried- Also known as a hardware problem. How about human beings?

I was crossing the when I saw a special needs helper holding the hands of 2 special kids. Their walking seems a little zombie like, they stare at people and smiles randomly, they actually seem happy. Is theirs a hardware problem with their brain or a behavioural issue where the parent should use a cane to smack them for their misbehavior?

Similarly, Image an elderly gentlemen who seem easily irritable with loss of motivation and forgetful memory. Is it an issue with attitude or a drop in dopamine and acetylcholine in his cortex? Should we scold him or being uncooperative?



An old lady who keeps on forgetting. Not attentive enough? or lack of AMPK or ACh?

5 yr old boy who looks at the cup of coke, stretches his arm and cries like a siren. Addiction or a lack of willpower?

O-level student who can’t sit down without falling asleep. Lazy student or thyroid issue?

Kid who doesn’t want to study, only want to play and run around.  Mischievous or fed too much sugar?

A grumpy middle aged lady who gets angry over the smallest issue. petty bitch or part of the menstrual cycle?

What do you think? how should one go about dealing with each situation if we care deeply about these people?


The distinction between the 2 will determine the vastly action remedy steps. Becuase treating a software issue with hardware upgrades might super charge the software issue. Conversly, forcing a software change when there is a hardware issue might cause a burnout.

A doctor tends to view the world in the lens of hardware problems- specifically, germs, bacteria, virus. A doctor uses chemcial changes to remedy hardware issues.

A teacher views students tiredness, hyperactivity, lack of focus as behavioral software issues. Fix your rotten attitude! You are not discipline enough :X


  1. Distinguish hardware problems from software problems.
  2. Know that one can cause another. Know that it can be both.
  3. Know your usual evaluation of people. Hardware vs software.
  4. Expand your range of “remedies”.
  5. Kids are not robots.  punishment might not always be the solution, perhaps naps, or running around or a hug will be better.