As I was browsing my Facebook feed the other day I saw that a friend posted a video with a comment: “a touching 2 min video, the sad reality of why we are not living in the moment” and this got me really curious.
So I figured I should spend 2 minutes of my time watching this video.
And now, 3 minutes after watching this video, I’m writing this.
It just really hit a nerve with me… it’s one of those ones where you watch it and say to yourself ‘so true!’, yet at the same time it brings up feelings of disappointment, sadness and anger.
Watch this before reading on:
Is technology ruining our lives?
Technology is great, right?
We can keep up to date with everything that’s going on the world. We can stay connected and instantly know what Joe Blow is doing as well as any other person we have met during our entire life.
We can now be REALLY productive… so productive in fact that we can work away from the office, and continue working while we are at home, at the gym, right when we wake up in the morning and just before going to sleep at night.
Isn’t technology great? It’s making life so much better!
Or is it?
Well, some people would say that technology sucks!
And they have every reason to say this.
Let’s take a look.
Top 8 Reasons Why Technology Sucks
1. You don’t live in the moment
As the video above showed so beautifully, we are consumed by technology and staying connected. What happens if we don’t read that SMS or email in the next 3 minutes? Someone might need me?
I’m sure that person could wait until the end of the day… otherwise they would have called you.
Staying connected also means we can’t be fully present and enjoy the simple things around us.
2. Your boss lives in your brain
I remember when I was working in the corporate world I could never ‘escape’ the office. The little red LED on my blackberry would continually be going off. There were numerous times when conversations were taking place at 10pm at night over email between 5 different people.
Even worse, I’d be waking up in the morning to another 20 emails.
Work is constantly on your mind when you’re fully connected.
3. Your relationships break down
Technology has caused havoc in people’s lives.
We don’t get to express ourselves emotionally or with body language or communicate eye-to-eye when using technology. Sure, programs like Skype do help, but it’s never quite the same.
There’s no better way of building a relationship than face-to-face where you can actually see, hear and touch the other person.
4. You waste your time
Technology can be such a huge waste of time.
Do you really need to know what your mate from 10 years ago is doing every day for the rest of his life? What about the other 100 mates you have?
5. You become superficial
I still don’t quite get why some people post status updates such as ‘I’m eating an apple’ or ‘Starbucks is soooo yum!’.
Also, I don’t quite get why people are obsessed with taking ‘selfies’… photos of themselves posing.
It’s like life has become a big game to see who can get the most ‘likes’, comments or ‘retweets’ and this then dictates your popularity and your self-esteem.
In fact, I was reading an article in the paper (yes, a paperback paper!) the other day which mentioned that depression is increasing in teenagers, primarily due to this exact phenomenon. These social networks are now dictating people’s lives and their actual human feelings.
6. You’re wrecking your eyes and fingers
Staring at a computer screen for hours on end is wrecking your eyes.
But then I hear you say “it’s ok… we have a break every hour”… but then I look across at you and during your break you’re on your smart phone posting a status update saying ‘I’m on a break!’ and watching eagerly for the likes and comments to roll in so you can quickly reply.
7. You’re not spontaneous anymore
Remember the days without technology when you could just rock up at a friend’s place and then spend the day doing random things?
No way could this happen anymore! Everything has to be locked in to your calendar… in fact, I’ve got so many Facebook events now that I don’t think I have time to see my ‘real’ friends.
8. Your existence depends on it
This is the one that gets me the most.
With technology rapidly advancing, there is definitely a feeling of ‘keeping up with the jones’’.
If you don’t have the latest gadget or have access to the latest information then you’re simply falling behind.
If other people are more connected or more up-to-date than you are, then how does that leave you with your business or career?
Did you know?
Did you know that I didn’t have a mobile phone until I was 18 years old?
For those that are over 35, you’re probably thinking ‘neither did I!’
For those under 25, you’re probably thinking ‘how on Earth could you survive without a phone until 18??’
Now, 10% of children get a phone by the time their 5 years old. On average, children get their first mobile phone at age 7.
It’s a little crazy… but what can you do about it?
Technology is not all bad. I wrote this piece because I was fired up after watching that video. But it did hit a nerve with me and it is quite sad that these things are taking place in our lives.
But to make the point, I want to ask you a question:
Thinking over your life, what have been your happiest moments?
When you think about it, I’m sure that most of you would remember a time when technology was not involved.
Is there a simple way to resolve it? Lose your phone and find happiness.
P.S. I’ve got some exciting news on a couple of great programs for you that are in the works. One that I’m putting the final touches on now and will have ready for you in the next few weeks. It’s seriously a MUST have for anyone wanting to reach higher success in life. Watch this space!
Technology is often a wonderful thing, providing we don’t let it take over our lives.
My big issue is, if there are 1,000 developers out there writing applications, they provide you with 1,000 different ways to do the same damn thing! In the early 80s when things were new, all word processors (perhaps two) worked the same way.
Today, so many programs are released with unacceptable numbers of bugs and complex issues. Nothing is simple anymore!! The idiots in charge just wait for users and third party software people (who should have had the jobs instead of the idiots these companies hire), to fix the problems. Meanwhile, we have to put up with crappy software or software we can’t figure out because someone’s “genius” child got a job at the company. Microsoft is one of the worst offenders. They think they’re bullet proof. So did General Motors. Have you seen Detroit lately? Time will tell, and for me, it can’t come soon enough!!
Times up. Civilization is officially in decline. I wish I could go back to the 90’s. C’est la vie, have a drink and toast the end!
Yes, I have been saying this for years. I’m 35, so just at the right age to see the world transition from low end technology to high end always on technology.
I remember saying a few years after the net came out mainstream, that people were starting to change. Less personal. Less focused on reality. Then the phones became mainstream. Suddenly, for a price, I was on call. I could talk to people from anywhere. Like the Internet, it was neat and futuristic. Then, it became annoying. Instead of hanging out with friends and talking, we were hanging out and texting. Distracted. Unfocused.
Then, the phones, computers, cameras, camcorders, MP3 players, books, photo albums, day timers, banking, maps, mail videogames, TV screen, and Internet merged into one device.
Seriously, everything your phone can do now used to be a separate device or object. As a result, we have merged our lives with these devices. It almost reminds me of the Borg in Star Trek, living based on what the mainframe dictates.
Anyway, yes, although tech is cool and fun..it can be overwhelming. I’m more bored now then ever before in my life, and why? The main culprit is lack of meaningful human interaction. Yes, I have friends…real ones, not names on a website. But they have become like the rest of us – vapid, distracted, life synched to their ‘schedule’ lol
Seriously, become more spontaneous, screw the schedule once in awhile…you will be happier.
It also does not help that the world is falling apart politically, environmentally, financially, and socially. Perhaps we bury our faces in this tech to avoid seeing what deep down we all know in each other’s eyes…something has got to give soon, and it won’t be pretty.
Enjoy the time you have, spend it happily, not staring like a zombie at a screen. My 2 cents.
I got my first cell phone 10 years ago at age 50. That marked the end of remembering phone numbers. I was an enthusiastic software engineer in the late ’70s. The enthusiasm had worn off by the late ’80s. I never wanted my computer to look like my tv. By the mid ’90s I was ranting about the evil, pernicious effects of technology. The computer was becomming tv that watches you. Now that’s about all it is.
Good luck, kids.
This is so true. Instead of we controlling technology, it has become vice versa ! Coming out of digital captivity is the new challenge !
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Spot on, Brendan. I’m guilty of it sometimes but I’m slowly changing this habit of going to my phone every time I’m bored. Thanks for the reminder. 🙂
Balancing plugged in and unplugged time has been an ongoing challenge for me. I’ve found that it’s very important to set limits on technology, and to be intentional with the time that I do spend plugged in. I frequently turn off my cell phone, and I’ve decided to use my online time strictly for writing and cultivating relationships. For that reason, I do not maintain a personal Facebook account.
But, as I’ve said, it’s a struggle. I think the important thing to remember is that the answers are NOT online, and that it is all right to spend time alone, just quietly living in the moment.
Spending time offline is amazing for cultivating relationships and letting your creative mind run wild.
It’s definitely all right to spend some quiet time alone… in fact, these moments are some of my favorite moments… I just need to do it more often!
It might be an interesting challenge to go without TV, phone and internet for a week. I wonder how that would go?
I got rid of my phone a while ago which has done me a world of good…but for me the most shocking was letting go of the need to take pictures of everything while traveling and getting totally absorbed in the beauty of the architecture, countryside, or whatever the moment presented.
That’s reeeaallly interesting that you got rid of your cell phone. Do you sometimes find it a struggle without one? Or do you find the benefits outweigh the cons?
I would say I’m a little guilty myself when it comes to taking lots of photographs while travelling. It’s true though, when we look at the world through our own eyes and not just through the lens of a camera we appreciate it so much more and it’s not just a ‘quick, I need to capture this moment!” feeling without really EXPERIENCING the moment.
Did you love it?! We will not use computers anymore. Even at school! Thats what you want right?! Hmm?! RIGHT?!??
Wondering, Brendan…do you think people who overuse phones at the expense of personal relationships and productivity would find other ways to do the same without phones…because they’re inclined in that direction anyway? Or do you think the phone is the culprit? I really don’t know. Wondering what you think.
Interesting question… just to clarify, so you’re asking whether people would tend to ‘avoid’ personal relationships and productivity given any circumstance (technology or not)?
I think there will always be individuals who prefer to avoid personal relationships due to their nature. Perhaps communicating with others raises immense anxiety in them. To this group, technology could have perhaps been a blessing, as it enables a platform for them to communicate in a more safe and less confronting environment. It could perhaps even help them get over their social anxiety.
On the other hand, it could create more of a disassociation with ‘real-world’ relationships.
For these individuals I really don’t know how it would affect them. But in the general scheme of things and in my opinion, the phone and the internet ARE the culprits for creating a less-personalised and more chaotic world.
Not sure if this really answers your question 🙂
in fact I’m kind of guilty to over-using my phone. Since it’s my alarm clock, I was always checking emails and social networks every morning.
Just yesterday I started a little experiment. I turned off automatic email download on my phone, so that I don’t get a notification when emails are coming in. And I turned off all notification from social media, except for the small numbers in the icons showing the messages / post updates / etc. I got.
I’m curious how this will perform and I hope to live more in the moment through this small hacks.
I’m curious to see how you go with that… it would be a good little productivity and happiness case study 🙂
Please keep me informed!
it has been over a month since I started turning off all notification for mails, messages and even phone calls on my phone – and I love it. I only notice phone calls when I accidently look at the display when the call comes in – no ringtone or vibration.
So far I don’t have the feeling that I’m missing any important information. But I got used to spending time without my phone and focusing on the people around me.
I’m still nervous sometimes when I’m waiting for a message, but that’s about it. Usually I have my phone lying upside-down, so that I don’t even notice calls. That’s what I call distraction-free working.
Thanks for pointing me into this direction Brendan!
That’s awesome… I love this. I’m trying a few techniques myself in terms of being more productive and minimising distractions like this…. eg only checking email once in morning and again at night. It’s hard to stick to it!
You’re right. I found this article on habits and routines to be one of the best: http://ashocka.com/articles/5-steps-forming-habit-gamification-mind-tricks/
Wow this really encapsulates my feelings about all the negative aspects of cellphones, social media and technology.
In many ways this tech has done a lot to revolutionize the world in a good way. The incredible access to information is something I just LOVE about technology.
But there is a dark side.
It is important to remember that technology is a tool; not your LIFE.
Thanks for a great reminder.
Exactly right, SJ!
I LOVE technology… I use it every single day. The fact that you can learn ANYTHING in seconds now with the power of google is simply amazing. 20 years ago this was impossible.
However, it is creating a darker side to life and I want to make sure that we own technology… and that technology doesn’t own us.
Learn? I really doubt that. Why remember something if you can just look it up? If you are one of the very few that retain the knowledge, great! Most people do not.
Amen Brendan 😉 Nothing to add buddy.
Amen my fucking ass you snake. HOLY SHIT TECHNOLOGY SUCKS SO BAD I JUST WANNA KILL THE ONE WHO CREATED TECHNOLOGY! Agree??
I think that video clip touched a ‘spot’ for many people. Things come around. Its time to stop and take note…
The technology is amazing but we need to be in charge of it and not the other way around.
Perhaps this is a new wave of change rolling in, a time to be more aware and in control.
That’s just the way it should be…only there awareness of who is using who?
Technology is beautiful just like electricity but if you let it use you or you using it badly it can be very ugly.
The reason I use a phone all the time is because people suck and I prefer to entertain myself rather than interacting with people. That being said, technology sucks because coding is so complicated. I get so sick of this video not working, or this function stops working, or this won’t turned on, which leads back to why I hate people, planned obsolescence is the primary engineering directive for any product. We sell you a product, it breaks because it was designed to, and then you have to buy another one. All I can say at this point is I am glad that EVERYONE DIES. Stick that planned obsolescence in your rear, greedy punks!!!!
Your comments are exactly why we are in trouble. You care more about your GD phone than the human race.