Instancy: The Downfall of Personal Development

Technology has created a wonderful sense connection through the entire world. Even third world countries and non-technologically inclined religious colonies are starting to adopt a certain level of technology and connectivity. What an outstanding time we live in. When looking back, I can personally remember in the 80's and 90's picking up the phone to…

Technology has created a wonderful sense connection through the entire world. Even third world countries and non-technologically inclined religious colonies are starting to adopt a certain level of technology and connectivity. What an outstanding time we live in. When looking back, I can personally remember in the 80's and 90's picking up the phone to call my friends to go “play”. The majority of people did not have answering machines to let alone voicemail or caller ID. Text messaging did not even exist and email was still a very strange and foreign concept. There are times I can even remember Mrs. Suster giving me a small scolding for calling during dinner time. It was certainly a different world at that time.

Today, our world is more fast paced than it has ever been. Texting and answering your phone at all hours of the day (and sometimes night) are the norm now. We all have friends and coworkers that text or email during lunches, coffee dates, and business meetings. Worse yet, supper time is no longer the sacred family time. We are so busy doing that we forget to just “be”. In fact, I have a handful of friends that are more interested in taking pictures of their meals and posting them on Facebook and responding to comments and feedback on the photo then they are in enjoying the meal and aspect of “being” social.

While I appreciate and use copious amounts of technology myself, it is clear to me in my Life Coaching practice that technology has created a sense of instancy that takes away from our own personal development. We want what we want, and we want it pretty much right now. There is very little room for error or patience. Take a look at how people drive by trying this experiment: Drive the exact posted speed limit; not over, not under; in any moderately populated urban area and see how quickly people behind you start to line up or pass you because they were all going faster than you. Then see how many of them appear frustrated or use the opportunity to check a text message. It is hilarious to me to drive around and see people talking to themselves looking frustrated or mad (I'm sure they are actually talking to a speaker phone, some “driving” meeting that requires their attention). I do it too!

What happens though when we stop talking and just drive. No music or radio, but simply drive? There are two possible outcomes I have witnessed. People become anxious because they are not “doing” something or they become incredibly peaceful because all they have in front of them is the road, this moment, a moment of mindfulness, a simple sense of being.

We all know that we are dropped in so many different directions. My phone is beeping, I have a text or an email that needs to be seen right now … even if I do not have time to reply to it for a week or two … even if I have having dinner with my friend right now. The problem is not that we have the technology. The problem is that we are not setting boundaries around that technology to ensure we can live mindful lives. Mindfulness – the precursor to any form of well thought out personal development.

So, what is the edict to change your life:

Set some boundaries around your technology. Be in the moment you are in. Enjoy face to face conversation. Turn your phone off a couple of hours a week. If this makes you angry … breathe.