Step 16 – Put your phone down!
I swear, this has been the disease of 2016 and it’s already spreading out to the next year: let’s call it a chronic attachment to our phone syndrome. We’re all guilty of it. No exceptions. Including me. We’re constantly checking our phones, we’re constantly checking where they are, we get heart attacks the second we think we lost them. They give us pleasure, anxiety, happiness, freedom, anger… you name it – all kinds of emotions are involved.
What the fuck happened to us? Why can’t live without our phones anymore? (I’m not talking about using a phone for work, of course). Why are we so attached to being constantly connected to everyone? I know it’s all about social media and the likes we get but there are thousands of studies about that and they are all very clear that it’s just another addiction (you can find an excellent interview with Simon Sinek about that here ). I believe it will only get worst. There are many good things about technology, phones, and social media that I personally really like, but something is just going in the wrong direction.
I think that to constantly check your phone is simply an escape. We’re running away from our own thoughts. It’d be scary to finally hear and face them, so we run away and every few minutes we have to sync to the virtual world out there. Waiting for a train, for a bus, for a friend, for a meeting, at a store, at a bank – we just always reach for our phone. It’s not about killing time; it’s all about avoiding thinking and communicating with one’s self – and with each other. When you get yourself occupied with the latest feed, you don’t have to think about yourself and about the things you really should think through. You turned the phone on, so now “you’re busy”. You don’t give your brain a break. Why do you think you have to stimulate your brain so often? Why can’t you just be present in a place you’re at this moment, with people who are around you?
I know: sometimes they’re strangers. So what? Most of the time they’re not though, they are your friends and you still choose to look at your phone, instead of looking at them. What’s so important in your phone that you have to check it right this very second? What kind of important message is coming? A like from a friend you’ll see in half an hour? This was so important that you had to reach to your pocket, turn the phone on and have this look on your face like breaking news from another planet is coming? It just gets really crazy. Don’t lose yourself in that.
Just pay attention and ask yourself what are you looking for over there? What kind of validation do you expect? I promised myself not to check my phone that often anymore. I started controlling myself and I really try not to check social media when I’m at home (I do it for a few minutes when I have a day off). Whenever I’m sitting in a coffee shop I promised myself to sit for at least half an hour without checking it or opening any other kind of devices. It really helps, I’m surprised what comes to my mind when I don’t try to occupy it with this virtual bullshit all the time. Just be careful and don’t lose yourself in this social media world, because what you’re really losing is not only your connection with others but most importantly – the connection with your own self. And that one hell of a thing to lose.