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Mindful : February 2019
And then suddenly the minutes fly by. And what I hear from young people is that the moment they could press on and get away from the bored and into the flow, that’s the moment where they’re like, I’m just going to check Instagram or get on Snapchat. You say our desire for novelty is an urge that’s as hard-wired as our desire for sugar or fat. While it’s great that technology makes it easy to find out what’s new, what’s the flipside of that? I think of the food analogy in relation to information overload. I personally am a glutton for news and informa- tion. I just want to read everything. But what is the point in stuffing my brain with all this new information if I’m not going to use it somehow? For many people there’s also this insa- tiable appetite for social connection. Getting a “like” or a “favorite” is like having a piece of candy. It tastes so good! But you’re going to be hungry again really soon. So where’s the nourishment? Where do you find the satisfaction so that you’re not swiping, swiping, swiping...? It’s like we think our phones are helping us stay connected to people, but there’s a paradox there. Yeah, like today we connect on Twit- ter or Facebook. OK, that’s a connec- tion. But would I recognize you in real life? Would we be happy to see each other? Would we be able to sit down and have a real conversation? It’s OK to be connected to a lot of people on social media platforms, but I want to make sure we don’t lose sight of real connection with people. Like right now you and I are having lovely eye contact. You have these beautiful blue eyes and cool cat glasses. When you see someone eye to eye, and you’re on the same wavelength, and they totally understand what you’re talking about? That’s connection! And you can’t do that in a text. One of your listeners equated his phone to a baby’s binky. Another described theirs as a four-year-old in need of attention. How would you describe your relationship with your phone? I would say codependent for sure. The phone needs me because that’s how it makes money for all those free apps. But I definitely need the phone. I mean, my son right now is with my husband getting an X-ray on his foot. We can be in touch all day long. My phone tells me where I need to be in the next half hour. I have all my inter- view preparation in my phone. So don’t get me wrong, I love my phone. But what I’ve also realized is that I have compressed time in a way that some- times my body cannot keep up with it. Before I read your book I was kind of smug, thinking: I don’t have a problem because I’m just using my phone to be productive. Our phones mean we can always be planning, always be productive. And I think we forget that being reflec- tive actually helps us be productive because it helps us set goals. If we haven’t taken the time to sort out what’s important to us, then when we respond to an email, we’re letting other people set our goals for us. We’re confusing productivity with responsiveness. You know, computers have infinite capacity. Human beings do not. And that’s been a hard lesson for me to learn, particularly as a type A person who has so many things I want to do. It’s hard to get the medita- tion stuff into my life.