My wife and I had a long discussion about technology and not being in the moment. I was asked how long can I go without my internet connected phone or computer? Am I addicted to social media, constant updates, and instant validation? Where is my mind?
It made me question if technology has made us more selfish, self-absorbed and anti-social? Are we less aware of the world around us? Have we lost true intimacy with others?
Her observations on my behaviors shined a light on how I’ve been for the last several weeks. Which is to say, not in the moment and definitely in my own little world.
The discussion reminded me of something I had saved a while ago. Spoken-word artist Richard “Prince Ea” Williams has a pretty cool video addressing this very problem.
You need not delete your social networks or destroy your cell phones, the message is simple, be balanced, be mindful, be present, be here. 🙂 – Prince Ea
Our choices define us. It’s a choice to constantly be on the computer or on the phone and not in the moment. My brother-in-law likes to use the phrase, “Look at your life, look at your choices.” He says it in a joking manner much of the time, but it’s also a good step when evaluating one’s actions.
We make choices all the time about how we react to the world around us. Do we retreat? Do we keep our head down and our eyes on our phones or do we make a point to pay attention?
Again, I’m reminded of another video. Author David Foster Wallace was asked to give the commencement address to the 2005 graduating class of Kenyon College. This is Water made an impression on me, but I haven’t listened to it in a couple of years. This video adaption illustrates the most important point of his speech: you get to make the choice. He advocates switching off the default settings focusing on how unfair everything is and taking control over your thoughts to be more aware, and, in turn, well-adjusted and less selfish.
Finding happiness is often a choice to be happy. I’m constantly accused of being a “glass is half-empty” kind of guy. I get asked repeatedly why I can’t be more positive. It’s a choice. My plan is to try and make some positive choices in my life.
I will actively choose who my friends are on Facebook. My default setting was to friend people I used to be friends with, old work buddies, high school friends, college friends, etc. Now, I’m going to go through my friends list and decide just who I want to see in my feed on a regular basis. I want to surround myself with smart, interesting people I like and respect. Anything else just adds stress.
I’ve already culled my Twitter follows, but my default has been to have it up constantly. Evaluating my addiction, I’m using it under the guise of learning what’s going on in the world but in reality I’m just distracting myself. Plus, rarely does checking my feed add one ounce of happiness to my life.
Focus is important. I need to focus on my family first and the rest of the world via technology a far away second. I get distracted far too easily. I need to focus on what matters. Focus is also a choice.
Choosing the right path is ultimate decision.
Let’s choose to be mindful, present and happy. I bet we get a ton of creative work done.