Are important moments of your life slipping away while you stare into your phone? Are you up-to-date on the Kardashian’s latest Twitter feud, but out of touch with what your kid was just telling you about… something?
If so, there’s a name for you: American.
We check our phones an average of 150 times per day. With every one of those check-ins we run the risk of slipping into the Matrix-like digital world of other people — friends, acquaintances, celebrities, newsmakers – at the expense of our own reality and the real, live people surrounding us at that moment.
Entrepreneurship blogger Christy Wright, who struggles with this problem, has implemented a system she says helps her stay in the present moment.
“It’s just a simple question,” Wright says. “Whenever I’m tempted to pick up my phone, I ask myself this: ‘Is it more important that I know what the outside world is doing right now, or is it more important that I experience what I am doing right now?’
The question almost always answers itself, Wright observes.
Ask yourself this question when you and your spouse are sitting across a restaurant table staring into your phones. Or when you are scrolling through Facebook in the grocery store checkout line – missing what your child is asking, and making the clerk repeat her questions.
Wright reminds us that when we are with family and friends, those people and interactions matter more than the outside world pouring in via our phones — even if we are engaged in a mundane, boring experience. Think, for example, how many teachable moments you might miss with your child in that check-out line – all the things they don’t know about that you could be explaining.
Wright notes that sometimes it’s not what’s coming into our phones that degrades the present moment, but we feel compelled to send out. Instead of enjoying concerts, games or even children’s birthday parties we feel compelled to memorialize them. We record them, post them to social media, reply to comments on the posts…. All while missing the actual event! Just think about the last picture you saw of a major event. The crowd was likely bathed in the glow of thousands of phones held aloft to record the moment.
Bringing our phone addiction under control isn’t easy. But there are tremendous upsides. We will be better at our jobs, more connected to those we love, and, most importantly, we’ll actual experience the amazingness of real life in all it’s sometimes exciting, sometimes mundane glory.
As the great philosopher, Garth from Wayne’s World, said, “Live in the now!”