How much time do you spend every day on social media? Do you keep track of how many hours you devote to chat rooms, threads and keeping up to date with your ‘friends’ on the various social media platforms? There’s a good reason to acquaint yourself with this information. Because you might be shocked at how much of your precious time gets lost forever in these seemingly innocent daily activities.
We plant seeds that will flower as results in our lives. So, it’s best to remove the weeds of anger, avarice, envy and doubt. – Dorothy Day
And why is that important? Well, the evidence strongly suggests that we’re becoming increasingly addicted to these insanely demanding media dispensers. And this obsession with our phones and social media is corroding our real contact with the people around us.
Take a look around you. Even before the confinement restrictions, do you remember how people would seem to be lost in their smartphones? It’s the same today. Whether you’re sitting in a coffee shop, walking along the street, riding on public transport or sitting at a table – everyone seems to be lost in their tiny little worlds of electronic contacts. It’s been described today as the world’s most significant displacement activity. We turn to our phones rather than confronting the situations around us. Is it any surprise that so many people are suffering from loneliness and a sense of isolation? When you think about it, your precious smartphone can never become an adequate substitute for the richness of real communication.
The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place. – George Bernard Shaw
Effective communication demands a surprisingly broad range of elements. We’ve evolved to rely on body language, subtle hints, tones, pauses and intonations. There is a degree of subliminal exchange that is completely absent in a shared text or message or emoji on your smartphone.
So, if the problem is so simple to identify, what can we do to free ourselves from this pernicious and persistent habit? Are you ready for the answer?
It’s incredibly simple.
Try turning off your phone. That’s right. I really mean it. Go cold turkey and discover what the world looks like outside the narrow range of your smartphone. Make a firm decision to free yourself from the artificial constructs of social media. Take a deep breath and try talking to people for a change.
The fact is that we need to learn to be with people and make a conscious effort to listen to them. This is the foundation of effective communication. When you really listen, you’ll be surprised at how much you can learn. By focusing on the words, the intonations, the hesitations and the accompanying physical gestures, you’ll enter a whole new world of understanding. Your world will open up and you’ll discover a far richer experience with your fellow humans.
And there’s more.
Take the time to read the news rather than watch it on a screen. The differences might astound you. Engage your analytical faculties to consider the choice of words and images and see if you can identify the underlying narrative beneath the story. Become aware of how people choose to communicate. What are they really saying? Think about it. Train your mind to notice the details.
The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said. – Peter Drucker
Rather than connecting the planet and enhancing communication, social media outlets have in many ways created a massive disruption to the way we share our lives with others. Picture a typical family sitting around the dining table, each member holding their tablets and smartphones, lost in a private cocoon that separates each individual from the others, each person adrift in their own digital micro-world. This is not a healthy sign of a normally functioning group of human beings. And it needs to change.
Rather than enhancing communication, social media have become the go-to substitute for meaningful conversation. Take a break. Switch off your phone. Breathe deeply and take a look around you. Start a conversation. Break out of the Matrix and start to experience the power of being alive, aware and alert to the world around you.
Communication will bring understanding and understanding will cause harmonious mutual relationships which can establish peace and stability. – Lobsang Tenzin
Our mission and our daily motivation at The Wellness Foundation is to help you achieve your goals, fulfil your dreams and help you realise your ambitions.
This would be the perfect moment for you to give your smartphone a rest and tune into the people around you. It’s time to master your phone rather than let it control your life. See how it feels to detach yourself from this artificial life-support system. Feel the new sense of freedom that emerges as soon as your attention turns away from that little illuminated screen and moves outwards to the greater world around you. Notice how your new perception empowers your ability to exercise and control your life. Start with your phone. Try switching it off and see what happens. It won’t disappear. It will still be there when you decide to turn it back on!
In the meantime, please feel free to share this post. Encourage all of your family, your friends, colleagues and acquaintances to harness their deeper potential for a better and more successful way of experiencing and enjoying the gift of this life to the max.