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Mindful : February 2019
So do you meditate? I’m trying. I’ve started many times, but it’s very hard for me. I used to think I was the world’s worst meditator. But when I heard you’re supposed to fail over and over so you can just start again, I was like, Oh, I can do that! One of the habits you asked your listeners to change was to stop taking pictures for a day. What advice do you have for parents like me who take a ton of pictures because we want to capture certain memories? Part of being a parent is knowing that these moments are super fleeting. But why can’t we be OK with the fact that we’re not necessarily going to remem- ber a certain moment? That’s why we’ve gravitated toward Facebook: because no chapter ever has to end. No one passes out of your life. Why not? It’s a sad thing when you lose touch, yes, but things do come to an end. Life comes to an end! So I’m really trying to be more comfortable with the idea: You’re right, you won’t remember it, and that’s why every moment deserves to be savored, because the ride is short, and it’s not easy. Who told you it was going to be? Nobody. So do you think that we’re at a turning point in understanding the way technology might be interfering with our ability to space out and savor the moment? I would not have said that when we started the Bored and Brilliant project. But I took all the data that we collected, and I also did a ton more research. And I do think people are starting to understand that the idea that tech is always going to make things better is a utopian ideal—it’s not reality. There are fundamental questions about the next chapter of the internet. And while we wait for regulation or new business models or maybe it’s a Hippocratic Oath for software engineers, that’s all going to take some time. Meanwhile we have immediate work we can do on ourselves, on self-reg ulating. That’s something we have to teach ourselves and teach our children in schools. The people who participated in the Bored and Brilliant challenge were able to reduce the amount of time they spent with their phones. But more importantly, they created habits—like keeping their phones out of sight, and not using them while in transit—that made them more likely to connect with their own thoughts and with other people. You’re a fan of the tiny hack. Can you think of one small step that you would suggest people try? I guess it would be to realize that we have to schedule time for reflection into our lives. What we’re discovering is that the constant connectivity and easy access to information and other people means that we have to prior- itize things that we’ve never had to teach before like eye contact, conver- sation, reflection, boredom. Because the future economy will require you to sit with a problem and work it through and not move to distract yourself with something else. You have to sit and be uncomfortable and go deep. That’s hard, but that’s where the good stuff is. ● Daydreaming is “the time when you take one disparate idea and another disparate idea and you smash them together and make something new.” the mindful interview February 2019 mindful 55