Look, I love my smartphone and I know you do too. Yes, I love all the apps – SnapChat, Instagram, Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, and Spotify to name a few. I can multitask at lightning-fast speed, I have unlimited knowledge at my fingertips and a computer slave named Siri to do whatever I tell her to do. How could a cell phone possibly be destroying my life? To put it bluntly, we are obsessed with our phones and we don’t even realize these devices are taking over our lives. Like a thief in the night, our cell phones are stealing our relationships, our time and productivity and most importantly our ability to connect with real people (other humans, you remember those things, right?).
Here are 7 insights that will help you to live a balanced, happy life with technology in the 21st century.
Believe it or not, you have FOBO.
Yikes – say it ain’t so. What is FOBO and is there a cure? FOBO refers to the ‘fear of being offline’, and yes, there is a cure. The minute you see your phone battery at less than 10% and you’re not home yet, you start to panic. What if someone needs you? What if something happens on Facebook or what if someone posts an amazing pic and you’re not there to immediately like it? I’m pretty sure our parents managed to get through life just fine without freaking out about a dead cell phone – and so can you. Next time you realize you only have precious moments left with your phone before it dies, recognize that this affords you an opportunity to enjoy some time off the grid. There is such freedom in being anonymous and a peaceful quiet in not worrying about messages and updates. The cure? Simply smile and enjoy the down time.
You have a closer relationship with a piece of metal than you do actual people
Your phone has seen some of your most intimate moments. It’s travelled with you wherever you go, from the bedroom to the bathroom, to work, and anywhere in between. But what happens when you would rather post a status about how you feel rather than calling someone who actually can help you with what you feel? Most people crave the attention they get from a social media post rather than talking to someone that can truly help them feel better. We all have bad days but it seems that most of us would rather create a post (and get 50 likes.) about how terrible our day has been than call our best friend to help us process the day and get it off our chest. With our cell phones, human interactions tend to be fleeting and it’s because we act like giant adult babies – give me attention, give me likes, write comments . . . give me a break. Next time you’re having a tough day, go see a friend for a coffee and open up…you’ll be surprised at how refreshing it feels.
Your relationship is starting to resemble the Titanic
The iceberg didn’t look like much in the beginning, and neither does texting once in a while when you’re out on a date with BAE, but we all remember how Leo ended up at the end of that movie. I’m not saying you’re going to literally sink into a dark, freezing cold abyss, but what I am saying is that trouble is ahead. Don’t take your phone out and place it on the table at dinner. It shows that your phone is more important than your date. Instead, engage with your date – talk, stare into each other’s eyes and let the magic of a cell phone-free night do its job.
Your cell phone is your crutch
Have you ever had to wait for someone or something when there are other people present? Of course you have. And what do we all do in this situation? We dig into our pocket or our purse and light up our faces with the neon blue hue. This antisocial behavior is amplified because everyone else is doing it as well. Stop relying on your cell phone to look busy or important. Maybe you could actually turn to the living, breathing human to your left and say ‘hi’. There is such a richness to people that you’re missing out on when you constantly stare at your phone as a way to pass time or avoid interaction. Slow your scroll and challenge yourself to meet someone new. Occupy your time with someone or something more important than your grown-ass friends licking the camera with dog ears for the 100th time.
What’s that noise? It’s nature Gary. Nature.
There’s no nice way to say this, but your cell phone is making you fat. There, I said it. You’ll agree that most people prefer to scroll Instagram or watch SnapChat stories over going out and doing something physical. That’s obvious. But I’m also talking to the people that are at the gym, pedalling a solid 2.1 miles per hour on the bike machine while being glued to their cell phone screen. You’re not doing your body any favors, either! Get that body out and go visit Mother Nature. I don’t mean strap up and hike 86 miles at a 90-degree angle; I mean go for a brisk walk, take a new route, or play a sport. For the love of everything holy, do something that requires your phone to NOT be in your hands. The rule of thumb here is that if you can risk dropping or breaking your phone while doing said activity in nature then go do that thing NOW.
You’re wasting your time.
Take a moment and think for a second, has a SnapChat story ever positively changed your life in anyway? No? Okay, what about watching YouTube videos from Facebook while you’re on break? Hmm no again, eh? At best, these apps just give you a temporary happiness, much like a quick high. Do you enjoy texting all day or messaging friends? The answer is probably yes. The reason you do isn’t unique to you: when we see the phone light up with a text, an email, a ‘like’ or other notification, our brain releases a little bit of dopamine in our body that makes us feel good. It literally becomes an addiction. It becomes detrimental to our life when we search and search for that mini high all day long. We sit and we scroll and we watch, and that becomes our life. How pitiful. Go out there and see the world in real living color – nothing compares to this and nothing will give you a better high than participating in life, rather than watching it pass you by (literally).
You’re becoming out of touch with reality
With your smartphone and all your apps, you don’t realize that you’re slowly being conditioned to believe that social media life is real life. You see the Instagram pages with all the gorgeous women and ripped guys in stunning parts of the world taking glamorous photos. You see all those couple goals, money goals, and gym goals daily and then you look in the mirror and see none of that. Please don’t compare your life to the fakery you see on the ‘gram. If you see a pic with someone in the water with the hashtag #LifeOfLuxury, relax . . . they’re actually in their parents’ backyard pool and it took them 22 attempts to land the perfect shot. Likewise, when you see an amazing car and a guy posing next to it with the hashtag #KillingtheGame, he’s really not. In fact, the only thing getting killed is him if the owner comes out and sees him.
Look, don’t take it from me – take it from Albert Einstein (he knows a few things about a few things). He says, “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world then will have a generation of idiots.” Ouch. That stings. So the next time that phone lights up, buzzes, sings or rings, think twice about what you’re giving up in order to impress a bunch of nameless followers. Talk less and listen more to your friends. Open your eyes, read more books, go on adventures, love more and experience life. Now.
Written by Jono Macri