Cell Phones And Being Present

We get so easily distracted that we have a term for it –“squirrel.” We are so busy being in the next moment we aren’t fully present in this moment. Our technology, and our lack of awareness of its proper use, are to blame.

Looking down to read or type on your cellphone while I am talking with you lights up the same receptor site in my brain as if you’d slapped me in the face.” ~ David Silbersweig MD

It’s unfortunate that real-life interactions are on the outs as cell phone conversations, texting, and instant messaging take up more of our human communications. We are connecting, not communicating. For millennials, having a cell phone or iPad in hand constantly is the default mode for live interaction. That means much less chance of conversation with the people who populate their real lives. What was once something you did in private or during downtime, has now become an obsession. We all need to find out what is going on with everyone everywhere, to the detriment of what’s happening right there in front of us.

Power used to be having a cell phone; today, power is not using one. ~ Jim Trunick

The unspoken message of checking text messages in front of friends is: “I’d rather be someplace else with someone other than you.” The idea of being present in the moment is disappearing faster than you can say, “Hey, I have to take this call.” We devalue our current situation, friends, and family daily as we desire the next moment, instead of cherishing the current moment. Stop and smell the roses has never been more important. We gulp time, food, and drink – we have gone from citizens to consumers, and we wonder why we aren’t happy. Our pace is so fast to get ahead, be respected, and receive validation, that we do so at the expense of the things we tell others are most important to us – family, friends, and community.

Recently on an elevator, a young lady stepped in while using her cell phone. She was so distracted that she hit elevator buttons for multiple floors. She had forgotten what floor she wanted and while she was texting, she pushed buttons for floors she did not want, clueless we were even in there with her. She got off on the next floor and walked off, sheepishly apologizing to the three of us, as we rode skyward, anticipating multiple stops on floors we had no interest or plans to visit. Her distraction slowed us all down. C’Mon Man!

80% of Success is just Showing Up. ~ Woody Allen

I wonder what the long-term effects will be of devaluing our current situation, our current surroundings, and the people we spend time with in person in favor of virtual reality. I believe those of us better at emotional intelligence will adjust faster, putting us in position to have more influence. Scarcity creates demand, and maybe the pendulum swinging back to more concern for others will again provide the greatest influence.

I would rather be in the company of people caring about someone else, instead of those overly connected to everything else. It is not being a millennial or some other label – it is just caring about another person, even in the car speeding 70 miles an hour next to us, as more important than a cell phone.

Having too many priorities is the same as having no priorities. Having lots of connections is the same as having no communication – and maybe involves less caring.


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