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The Smart Phone, A Modern Day Cigarette

Did you know the average cell phone user unlocks their phone 110 times a day? We also spend on average of 145 minutes on our phones. We also, simply touch our cell phones 2,617 times a day on average. We search Google 3 billion times and we tweet more than 300,000 times every day. A study recently released by Deloitte found that Americans collectively check their smartphones upwards of 8 billion times a day! Now, sit back, set your phone down, and just think about that data… Now that you are back, isn’t that just flat crazy!? Another very interesting fact is that Steve Jobs and Bill Gates greatly minimized handheld device usage and time of their children. Two of the greatest visionary developers of why we are where we are today with the handheld super computers had the foresight to understand the extremely addictive nature of these very powerful, helpful yet super addictive devices to their own children.

The fact is, these devices greatly improve our daily lives, improve efficiency like no other, and have the ability to improve communication like we have never seen before. Yesterday, I was talking to a producer, grandfather and grandson, on how the grandfather would have loved to have virtually instant contact with his veterinarian like we can have today, vs having to patiently wait for hours, days, even weeks to communicate with a veterinarian he needed help with.

But with these devices along came the evil world of social media, the world of “everyone has an opinion”, everyone has the power to be a keyboard Roman warrior. Most all of us are guilty of those things, as I can remember some of my very first K-State vs KU debates on Facebook. Boy were those not only productive, but even more positive(insert titanic sarcasm)! Regardless of our conversations in the infancy of social media and our immature level of thought process in canoeing through the waters of these modern era socially changing developments, along the way, many of us became addicted to our evil little smart phone, just like alcohol or a cigarette. They can just have this draw to them, as they sit on the table in front of us. They sit there and say, “Please pick me up, you must check social media or your email, it can’t wait!” And off we go, we pick it up, begin to scroll the pages, immersed in another world, all while the very present world around us and in front of us is talking, experiencing life, and holding moments that we can never get back. We must be very intentionally focused on getting those moments back. It could be at work, at home, wherever it may be, we are losing out on very productive, interactive, life changing, thought provoking time with those around us. So how do we do this?? We limit ourselves, our team members, and our children’s time on our devices, but we begin by ourselves, because we know more is caught then is taught! We look to have device free dinners, device free days, device free afternoons, device free hours, device free bedrooms, what ever it may be, start somewhere, because they are killing our relationships, our marriages, our children's’ lives, and work productivity. They are creating a world with an inability to create conversation or to simply say “Hello”, and even with all the “connectedness”, 20% of people feel they have no one to talk to. And it is up to us to each of us to intentionally focus on creating specially spaces and time for a device free renewed opportunities! So instead of “smoking free” or “no smoking” sections is restaurants or places as we used to see, I envision “device free” places or sections! But don’t wait for legislation, we don’t need that. Create it for your own family, for your own business, or for your social circle gatherings. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs did!

The heart of this conversation though, is as we approach and experience Thanksgiving this year, we need to put our phones down, and be in the now. Many of us can think back to Holidays and family gatherings in the 70’s and early 80’s, in which the house was filled with saturating smoke from lit up cigarettes, can’t we!? Now our kids will likely remember the same thing, walking into the gathering room, and instead of smoking a cigarette, everyone is holding their cellphone. We should have the all-knowing ability to push our cellphones aside, not withdraw from conversation, but set aside even our family differences, and immerse yourself in the now, seeing the awesomeness of the day, and visit with those whom our ancestors gave to us to visit with on the great day of Gratitude. Be in the now!! You won’t get “now” back again!! Happy Leadership Thursday and Thanksgiving! Cheers Amigos!

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