I wonder if we know how to succeed at life when everyone is busy using their smartphones and other electronic devices? I am usually an early adopter when it comes to technology. After all, I’ve already got Periscope on my iphone. But I saw a video on Facebook the other day of a woman giving birth in her car and it raised several questions for me about how we are living our lives. The young couple were apparently on their way to a birthing center and the husband certainly sounded supportive and was no doubt thinking he should just get his wife to the center fast, but I couldn’t get over the fact that the phone (or his camera) was set up and pointed at the passenger seat and at this young wife in labour. The video was very stable so it was clearly set up beforehand. I was also struck by the fact that as his pregnant wife was screaming that the baby was coming, he kept driving, rather than pull over to help her. To be fair, he eventually did ask her if he should stop or keep going and she told him to keep going but here’s where my head went with this: we are so focused on recording the events of our lives that we are not present in the moments of our lives! Here are some examples from cartoonists who have already started commenting on this phenomenon. Cartoonists have their fingers on the pulse of society, and their comics are often our early warning systems for our lives.
Granted, all of this is a somewhat tricky topic as most of my clients find me via my website and social media so I’m not saying we need to all become Luddites. But I am so disheartened of late, that we are missing what really matters in life, while we are busy recording life and taking selfies. I wonder if you are willing to do an experiment? What if you allowed yourself to be in the moment of your life’s moments? What if you checked your email just twice a day? (Hey I’m realistic, if nothing else. We do need to stay in touch and get some work done!) What if you just roll on the floor with your joyous toddler, rather than recording a video of you rolling on the floor with your toddler? How would your life be different if you let go of your smartphones? Would it be more “real”? Would you be more present to emotions, both positive and negative? Would you have more time for living? I suspect we would be more present, grounded and connected with each other, not just the “friends” we have online, many of whom we don’t actually know. Our smartphone “blindness” would turn to clear vision and seeing what is real and what is important.
Not convinced? Check out this brilliant little You Tube from China: smartphone addiction
And finally, sadly, this cartoon sums it all up:
3 Tips on How To Succeed At Life
- Limit your time on your smartphone. Plain and simple, I call it a “Phone Fast”. Find one time in your day when you would typically use your phone and shut it off for at least one hour. If you have children and teens at home, start some conversations about the addiction to technology.
- Be present. At least once a day, have a conversation or participate in an activity with someone without using your phone, whether googling a topic that comes up, checking your email, your texts or using any apps. Over time, see if you can increase this practice of being present and unplugged.
- Spend more time in nature. Stop and smell the flowers, breathe deeply and just BE. Now this is what I call a great and successful life!