The world is moving faster and faster. Every day we are introduced to a new piece of technology that on one hand simplifies a task, but at the same time simply adds an element of increased need for speed and efficiency. In many regards the glut of technology breeds anxiety.
I hate technology. Why?! Because I so love technology. That’s right; the ultimate love/hate relationship. I spend far too much time on Facebook, keeping up with family and friends. I spend too much time on LinkedIn reading posts on business, researching opportunities, and endorsing others skills. I read too much email. I read too much news. I follow too much hockey. Even when I am not at the computer it still reaches me. My email is tied to my smart phone. So is my Facebook, and my LinkedIn. I get calls, and texts. It’s relentless.
I am probably so attached because truth be told I am so fascinated. At its very core, technology fascinates me. It blows my mind. Even the concept of the telephone amazes me. That I can pick up a device, punch in a series of numbers, and in moments talk in real-time with someone 10,000 miles away amazes me!
So, why do I hate technology? Well, I don’t really hate the technology. I hate what we allow technology to do to us if we fail to manage our use of it. It eats away at our time. It creates the expectation that we should always be doing more and doing it faster. It disconnects us from the world around us. It creates an artificial world in which we engage with the technology and not with people.
My solution: take a walk. Step out from behind the computer screen. Turn off the phone or leave it at home. Stick your mp3 player in a drawer. Get out!
The benefits to taking a few minutes every day to slow down and get out are innumerable, and with all the time and efficiency you are gaining from the technology, you should be able to carve a few minutes out to slow down.
Slowing down, even if only for 45 minutes or an hour a day, lets us reconnect with the world around us. My wife and I walk regularly, usually after dinner (some evenings we ride our bikes). We have two dogs, so they come along and get their exercise as well. What I find when we walk however, is that I am able to simply slow down the pace of my mind for a short while. I see things that I never notice when I speed by in a car. I really smell the fresh air, flowers, trees. As it is getting to be Fall here in the north where we live, I am enjoying the changing color of the leaves, the crispness of the air, and the smell of wood smoke. My wife and I have great talks while we walk. We laugh. We point things out we never noticed before. We talk about our kids, their futures, our future, what we should do on the weekend. Sometimes we talk about our worries, too, but the slow pace allows for our minds to expand. It allows us to think more deeply and create solutions. We see neighbors and say hello or catch up on their news. We stop and pet other people’s dogs or smile at kids learning to ride their bikes or take their first steps. Every single walk is a brand new experience, never repeated, never quite the same.
Walking simply frees up your mind to be a more valuable tool. The exercise on your body is certainly part of this effect also. Regardless, it is, as I said, an opportunity to allow your mind to “expand.” I use that word because when I walk that is quite literally what I feel – like my mind is expanding. That I am stretching it to new proportions. I am tapping into the creative side that we all have but that goes dormant when we allow our computers to do all the heavy lifting for us throughout most of the day. Walking is freedom. Freedom from worries, freedom from technology, freedom to think and explore.
Perhaps you’re not a walker. That’s okay, too. Just get out. Ride a bike, run, ski, Rollerblade, or simply go stroll around the mall. It is my promise to you that you will, in a very short matter of time, feel a reconnection with the world around you and the people within it, and that this reconnection will have a positive impact on all aspects of your life. Don’t worry. All the techno-gadgets will be waiting for you when you get home.