Think of how quickly you grab your phone when you hear it make a noise or feel it vibrate.
It’s automatic for most of us, our phones and social media and texts keep us in a state of reactivity these days.
Do you ever feel a twinge of disappointment when you look at your phone and you don’t have any alerts?
We get a little hit of dopamine every time we have something waiting for us on our phone, whether it’s a text message from our mom or a notification that someone we don’t even know repinned something we didn’t create on a website full of pictures.
It’s an odd thing too, because for the most part these things are not real.
Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and Snapchat. So many news outlets that we don’t even know which one we can believe anymore, if we can believe any of them. All these fake worlds that we have (very rapidly) become accustomed to and have accepted as part of our real lives. Even most texts seem to unnecessary, and not real communication, and they are not a good medium for real talk anyway. I regularly have to discourage people from having real conversations via text because it rarely goes well.
I realized at some point that I had a wave of anxiety anytime I looked at my phone, so I decided to turn off all the alerts, and moved all of my social media/communication apps into their own folder, that I have to swipe through 6 separate pages to get to. Nothing pops up on my lock screen except phone calls (I figure if people really need something, they will call). I actually tried to go smartphone free, but found it made it too difficult to run my business because phones have done this really insidious thing where they have made moves into almost every aspect of our lives.
So now, nothing gets to push through my closed phone and prompt me into action.
Or, more accurately, into reaction.
We are not taking action with our phones, but are often simply reacting to their demand that we check to see what app made the noise.
Being reactive is the opposite of being mindful, being driven is the opposite of being intentional.
Give it a try yourself.
Notice the little twitch that goes through your fingers when you haven’t checked your phone for a while. Make note of your emotions when you realize you don’t have any new alerts, and when you do.
How much of our lives do we let these little pieces of plastic control?
How much should we invest in these fake virtual worlds?
Please note that the person asking this question is about to post his blog on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and his own website.