It’s easy to be totally oblivious to life when you’re focused on a little bitty screen in front of you, reading and responding to texts and emails and voicemails.
It is easy to lose focus and awareness of what is happening right next to you, in front of you, and all around you.
Be assured that others around you did not lose their focus. They are very aware that you are not aware or even there. It is like a magic trick. A virtual disappearance right in front of everyone’s eyes.
This is the slow suffocation of the relationships dearest to you. It happens as slowly as watching the eclipse of the moon. It is as agonizing as watching paint dry or grass grow. You are not aware that it is happening. Suddenly, you are adrift, alone – with no sense of ownership for the results you caused. No connection to the people you hurt.
Then the pain sets in. You sat there and experienced it all and it was over before you even knew it was happening. You cannot believe it. After pain is anger, and then resentment.
This hurt and pain can be avoided.
3 Places to Never Use Your Phone (Unless It’s a Life Emergency)
1. The Car: In many places it is illegal if you are the driver. But I am referring to you as the passenger. The car is an enclosed capsule. It can be under the cone of silence or open for personal conversations. Ideas can easily flow. Feelings can be shared. Plans can be made and the future can be discussed. But none of this is possible if you have disappeared into what appears to be an invisible sound-proof room of busy-ness and ill-placed focus.
2. The Kitchen: The kitchen is one of the homiest places where relationships are celebrated like no other place on the planet. It is a safe zone from the outside world. Family members can learn more, share more, celebrate more with the individuals that they claim are more important to them than anyone else on the planet.
3. Restaurants: If you are at a restaurant, you are with a small group of people related to you whether as family, friends or business associates. Your primary purpose and focus must be them – not on those who are not there. There is nothing more important than celebrating that moment and that moment only.
You are not to be in a “twilight-zone experience,” creating moments for others that are at the end of the Internet. Or operating from another cell tower far away. This is a moment that was designed for you to be present now. Right where you are physically. No exceptions. No excuses.
If the people are important enough to interrupt you, then notify them in advance. Tell them you will be offline for one to two hours. The world will not die or explode or cease to exist without your immediate response.
It is time to stop making excuses for your actions. I would imagine that you would never tolerate this with your children. It is time for you to stop being rude and selfish. I will repeat: it is rude and selfish and filled with an overabundance of self-importance.
This is hard to take for some VIPs reading this. Ego is a sneaky thing.
If that offends you, then hear it loud and clear. Offense is what you create in others by your lack of sensitivity and self-imposed importance.
I have been guilty of all of this and feel absolutely awful about it looking back. This is where I needed a 2 x 4 upside the head. Now I am sharing my 2 x 4 with you.
How can we be so oblivious to the obvious?
There has to be a separation. A boundary. A tall fence that no one or anything can get inside those precious moments that you must maximize with the people you’re with. In person. Not the virtual universe.
I set the standard and follow my own advice. Kitchens, cars and tables. Safe zones. Cell-free zones. This is definitely a lesson to be learned and taught by example.
My mission is to make those that I am with in-person feel like they are the most important thing I have to do right then. They are my mission. They are my focus. I will listen, and I will laugh, and I will take in all that is available at that moment with the very people that I love or should be loving.
SIDE NOTE: I know some people use their cell as the family photo album. If that is you, then put your phone in airplane mode. No Internet. No texting. No ringing of the phone. It should be used exclusively as that photo album, for you to continue to show and tell stories of family and friends and share amazing memories.
Use sparingly. Do not hold your guest as a hostage. A little bit goes a long way.
Please listen to what you have just read. Absorb it. Take it in. Apply it to yourself and save what is most important around you—family, friends and relationships with all.
Finally, if someone expresses disdain for your constant texting or cell usage – do not get defensive. It is simply their way of saying they’d like to connect with you “in person”.
Don’t miss the very life that you proclaim to be living.