How many of us are constantly bombarded with dings, rings, and notifications? How many of us, before we go to the bathroom, HAVE to find our phone? How many of us have looked at Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram at least 5 times already today? I am guilty some of the above…
In today’s world of constant contact and immediate information through our phones, we have lost something. I find that social media doesn’t only distract us from reality, but it warps our perceptions of it and misrepresents it.
So why am I bringing this up?
When we spend so much time on our phones, we start to shape our expectation of reality based on what people project online. Just scroll through your list and look at the people you follow and ask yourself, why do you follow them? I am willing to bet that they constantly are projecting the BEST versions of themselves. Think of the last time someone posted a picture on Instagram that wasn’t in the best light or in the best humble brag they could muster. The humble brag is my biggest pet peeve… You know, the one person that is like, “Ugh, my purple Lamborghini gets terrible gas mileage.” Tell you a negative to still show you, HEY I have a purple Lamborghini. Or what about when someone posts a selfie that says... “Making the best of what I got…” and they receive multiple responses saying how strong, dedicated, and beautiful they are. They only posted that selfie to have others tell them they are worthwhile. Social media has become an outlet for self-gratification, as well as a false image of what life really is. But real life isn’t all rainbows and unicorns. It has challenges and hard days mixed in with the good and amazing moments.
Did you know that according to Pew Research Center:
- 84% of cell phone users claim they could not go a single day without their device. (source)
- 67% of cell phone owners check their phone for messages, alerts, or calls — even when they don’t notice their phone ringing or vibrating. (source)
- Studies indicate some mobile device owners check their devices every 6.5 minutes. (source)
- 88% of U.S. consumers use mobile devices as a second screen even while watching television. (source)
- Almost half of cell owners have slept with their phone next to their bed because they wanted to make sure they didn’t miss any calls. (source)
- Traditional TV viewing eats up over six days (144 hours, 54 minutes’) worth of time per month. (source)
- Some researchers have begun labeling “cell phone checking” as the new yawn because of its contagious nature. (source)
So how can powering down help us and why should we be more PRESENT?
These points borrowed from: “http://www.becomingminimalist.com/unplug-please/”
1. Powering-down helps remove unhealthy feelings of jealousy, envy, and loneliness. Researchers recently discovered that one in three people felt worse after visiting Facebook and more dissatisfied with their lives. Certainly, not every interaction with Facebook is a negative one. But typically, our own experience validates their research. From family happiness to body image to vacation destinations to the silly number of birthday greetings on a Facebook wall, the opportunity for envy presents itself often on social media. Powering-down for a period of time provides opportunity to reset and refocus appreciation and gratitude for the lives we have been given.
2. Powering-down combats the fear of missing out. Scientifically speaking, the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) has been recognized as a recently emerging psychological disorder brought on by the advance of technology. The premise is simple. Our social media streams are ever-filled with everything happening all around us. Nowadays, we even see the plates of food our friends are enjoying. And within this constant stream of notification, our fear of being left out continues to grow. Turning off social media and finding contentment in our present space is a welcome skill.
3. Solitude is harder to find in an always-connected world. Solitude grounds us to the world around us. It provides the stillness and quiet required to evaluate our lives and reflect on the message in our hearts. In a world where outside noise is coming quicker and louder than ever, the need for solitude becomes more apparent… and easier to overlook. True solitude and meditation will always require the intentional action of shutting off the noise and the screens.
4. Life, at its best, is happening right in front of you. Our world may be changing. But the true nature of life is not. Life, at its best, is happening right in front of you. These experiences will never repeat themselves. These conversations are unfiltered and authentic. And the love is real. But if we are too busy staring down at our screen, we’re gonna miss all of it.
5. Powering-down promotes creation over consumption. Essentially, most of our time is spent in one of two categories: consuming or creating. Certainly, technology can contribute to creating. For example, this article was written (created) on a computer. But most of the time we spend in front of technology is spent consuming (playing video games, browsing the Internet, watching movies, listening to music). But our world doesn’t need more consuming. It needs more creating. It needs your passion, your solution, and your unique contribution. Power-down. And begin contributing to a better world because of it.
6. Addiction can only be understood when the object is taken away. Through a recent technological fast, I learned something about myself. I learned I am far more addicted to technology than I would have guessed. But that is the nature of addiction, isn’t it? We can never fully realize our level of addiction until the item is taken away. And the only way to truly discover technology’s controlling influence on your life is to turn it off, walk away, and sense how strong the pull is to turn it back on.
7. Life is still about flesh, blood, and eye contact. There are valuable resources online to help us grow and evolve. I have been enriched by the connections I have made and the friends I have met. But no matter how much I interact with others through the miracle of technology, there is something entirely unique and fantastic about meeting face-to-face. The experience of looking another person in the eye without the filter of a screen changes everything. Each time, I am reminded that life’s most fulfilling relationships are the ones in the world right in front of me. And spending too much time looking away from them does a great disadvantage to my soul and theirs.
So here is my challenge to you all, Ampersand members and non-Ampersand members… Power Down! I was listening to a podcast recently where Ben Bergeron, coach of the fittest man and woman on earth said, that to become better people we deserve to know our focal point, or our ‘true north.’ Sit down and think of what your personal mission in life is and what your personal why is. He says that only then do we have real perspective on who we are as people and only then can we see what true motivation looks like. The best way to accomplish this is by powering down all the digital external influences and distractions in our life so that we can truly connect with ourselves.
Here are some ways to power down:
- Spend time in silence, without your phone.
- Turn off the radio on the ride to work.
- Take a break from social media for 30 days.
- Limit your phone time to an hour a day.
- Take a friend to coffee and talk face to face, call instead of text
- Try the app called BreakFree that tracks your usage on your phone to see how much time you really are spending delving into other people’s lives and notifies you when you’ve been on too long.
Delve into your own life! You are worth it! Love you all!