I have come to the conclusion that most of us are missing out on life. We’re either too busy with things that don’t add real value to our lives, or we’re trying too hard to look busy.
How many of us are in a job that we don’t really enjoy, but endure? It should be a joy. But, instead, it’s a fight to get up every morning. We fight with the sun and the alarm clock. We especially fight with our bodies that just won’t get out of bed. We contemplate phoning in sick. And boy, are we good at sounding like we’re at death’s door when we’re on the phone to the boss. The only reason we get up in the morning is because we know we have a mortgage to pay. Also, car payments, credit cards, groceries and especially the meals and drinks bills over the weekends that keeps us sane, in an otherwise insane work environment. That’s not living – it’s simply surviving by making a living.
As for the rest of us – we might not be that busy in life, but we love to give that impression. We always have to be doing something. Just have a look the next time you’re on a train or bus. Lift up your head from looking at your phone when you’re waiting for your coffee and notice how many people are busy. Either talking on their phones or typing on their phones or just staring at their phones. Have a look the next time you’re at the airport. It’s almost impossible to find anybody just sitting. The only time you might find that, is when they’ve traveled a long way and just don’t have the ability to stay awake anymore. People can’t even sit and talk to one another for more than a few minutes anymore. Pay attention to how many people sit in restaurants and coffee shops and prefer to be communicating on their phone, than talking to one another. We are losing the ability to socialize face-to-face and if I believed in evolution, which I don’t, then it wouldn’t be too long before we don’t have a area called Broca in our brains. Instead, we’ll have nimbler thumbs that help us to text quicker.
We must look busy because that’s what everyone else is doing and we don’t want people to think there’s something wrong with us. It’s so easy to be busy, but not really achieve anything. I wonder how many of us act differently because it feels expected. Would we sit at the airport and pull out our laptops if it made us look nerdy? Mostly, it makes us look important so that’s why we do it. Would we sit in public and stare at our phones if it made us look weird? No, we do it because it makes us look normal in an abnormal world. We want to fit in! We don’t want to look like “losers” who don’t have anything to do. Nobody wants to look like I often do – sitting alone in a coffee shop with no phone or laptop. Just a cup of coffee in front of me, talking to nobody and looking as if I don’t have friends. Now I feel guilty writing this while sitting at an airport. Sometimes, sitting and doing nothing is of more value than all the efforts to look busy, so it’s time for me to wrap up and to stop looking busy.
The point of this blog is not about being critical, but rather about 3 questions we need to answer honestly:
- Are we succumbing to the world’s pressure to always look busy and important?
- Have we got to a stage where we are more comfortable talking to a screen and microphone than a real person?
- Have we lost the ability to effectively communicate face-to-face?
The concept so often seen in classic movies where the creation overpowers the creator has become a reality. We have created technology to serve our needs, and we have ended up serving it! It controls us and there’s no disputing that fact! The question is, “Are you and I strong enough to prove who’s really in control… us or our screens?”