REFLECTION: An aversion to stillness is a growing phenomenon in our plugged in world.
Case in point. I recently facilitated a day in a leadership development program. The session focused on Modeling The Way & Encouraging the Heart – two essential leadership practices. During the day we were in and out of group work and discussion.
People were pretty conscientious about turning off their cell phone ringers and setting the gadgets to vibrate. So the ‘audible call-out’ distractions were minimized. However, that didn’t stop people from repeatedly reaching for their phones in much the same way as infants reach for their pacifiers – to plug into something that fills the void.
As soon as group discussion wound down, or a break was announced, people grabbed their phones to check on the world outside. This essentially cut out those to their left and right who might want to engage in further interaction. After all, who wants to get between someone and their phone. However, it also robbed the individual of the opportunity to be still with their own thoughts – in the absence of input from the outside world. Who knows what kind of insights might have arisen given half a chance to see the light of day?
An article in last week’s Globe and Mail (see Resource of the Week) describes software that will, in return for your cash, shut down your internet access for a predetermined period of time. For $15 the Anti Social application will turn off your access to social media sites for a time of your choosing. For $10 the Freedom application will keep you from accessing ANY part of the web for up to eight hours.
Has it really come to this that we are so undisciplined – so addicted to input from elsewhere – that we are willing to pay others to handcuff us – to stop us from grasping incessantly for the technology in our lives?
ACTION: Try taking the ‘Aversion To Stillness’ challenge. Visit Do Nothing For 2 Minutes. See how easy you find it to sit still without reaching for the controls.
What does your success or lack thereof say about your ability to be calmly, totally present to your self and to the moment? Are you pleased with the message?
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Presence is more than just being there.” – Malcolm S. Forbes
RESOURCE OF THE WEEK: Read ‘How To Fight Digital Distraction?’ from Feb 17/11 Globe & Mail.
READERS WRITE: In response to last week’s message, ‘Easily Pleased’, Pause reader June F writes: This reminded me of a conversation that I recently had with my Mom. We were chatting about my Grandfather. She was saying how she still held a grudge of sorts with him because a few times when I was a child (probably going back 30 years now) he had promised to take me to the farm with him, and then he hadn’t shown up. I was shocked, and told her so. I had no recollection of the times that he didn’t show up; but I had such great memories of the times that he did. I’m sure I may have been briefly disappointed as a child. But that disappointment didn’t last long as I moved onto something else to occupy my time and delight myself. Children have such an amazing resilience. I try to remember this each day as I come across something that I could let disappoint me. Usually it’s not worth the time moping about. I quickly move on to something that will bring me joy. Thanks for this reminder to keep this attitude each day.
This post was written by Pat Katz on February 22, 2011