The Digital Disconnect

The population is constantly tethered to digital technology, romanced by the instant gratification coming from these devices. This has promoted a lack of respect and value for the company you keep.

Fueled by a recent article in Tiny Buddha, “Put Down Your Phone: Why Presence Is the Best Gift You’ll Ever Give”, my brain scanned the images of daily life. You’ll see it everywhere, whether on the street, at home, on a conference call or at a meeting, there’s the distraction of the click, click, click. The head is down, the mind is wandering, the physically present person or persons have mentally vacated and immersed themselves in a tech device. They’re letting you know that some other matter or person is of much greater worth and significance than anything else around them.

Devices have become the lifeblood of today’s society, putting real life interactions on the back burner. No longer are people present in the moment, but instead searching for the next best thing, taking a selfie, sending a text, spending money, posting a pic, or otherwise, totally removed from the current situation.

These harmful disconnections are slowly detaching human connections.

I remember reading a story a few years ago about something as simple as standing in line at the grocery store. Standing in line gave us an opportunity to think a little bit, strike up a conversation with the clerk or person behind you. Maybe notice your surroundings. Be touched by some random act of kindness (RAK) or even generate a RAK!

Life before devices meant we weren’t so dopamine distracted. When did we start needing to numb ourselves? No longer can most people survive without some form of ‘entertainment’ or busy time. It seems that any downtime, away from that virtual distraction, giving folks a moment of ‘reality’, is not within their comfort zones. Is the new norm that it’s freakish not to be scrolling, typing, or responding?

What message does this send? “My device is my priority in life. Not you or the current event.”

Is that what you are trying to convey in meetings, with co-workers, friends, colleagues or loved ones?

In the spirit of connection, here is my challenge: Put down your device and Practice Presence for 30 days using the list below for inspiration. Track the progress using #PracticePresence30 on Twitter and Facebook.

  • If you are at a meeting, BE with your co-workers.
  • If you are on a conference call, LISTEN, don’t just hear.
  • If you are meeting a friend for lunch, ENJOY their company.
  • If you are with your family, INVEST in who they are and those relationships.
  • If you are in public, ENGAGE with a clerk, shopkeeper, or ‘stranger’

People feel valued and cared about when you are present. This is the best of what life has to offer.