Why is it so hard to stay away from our phones? Why do we excuse ourselves from social situations and go to the toilet just so we can check for likes and scroll Twitter?
For those attempting a digital detox – welcome to the analogue world! It feels surreal doesn’t it? It just you, your thoughts, and the big wide world. Does it scare you? It scares me. It apparently scares people enough that is the challenge most likely to derail a digital detox effort. How did we get to the stage where fear solitude and time away from our screens?
The 24×7 constant buzz of technology does a remarkable job of distracting us away from the “void”. The void is an ill defined existential dread we feel when we are left alone with our thoughts. It is where we are faced with our subconscious asking ourselves the big, difficult questions – what is our purpose in life, what brings us joy and meaning? Are we content with our life? Are we living an intentional life?
You see, deep down, I think we all feel something is amiss with the current status quo. We are not meant to be replying to work emails on a Saturday night, sending 😂 emojis in reaction to yet another pithy viral gif, or binging yet another series on Netflix. We were not meant to be a society in which the smartest minds of our generation spend their time on working out how to hijack our attention to click more ads.
I think deep down we have three main ‘big picture’ wants as humans:
1. Meaningful work. Work that truly makes an impact. Work that challenges us, work that we enjoy doing and work that makes our hearts sing when we are in full flow.
2. Play time. The freedom to do things just because we enjoy doing them. The freedom to go for a long walk in the mountains, to spend an afternoon reading a good book, or to spend a night pursuing our hobbies.
3. Social connection. The privilege of having a trusted group of friends and family with whom we can share our dreams, desires and aspirations.
Our addiction to our screens actively erodes our ability to enjoy each one of those. These are actions that leave us feeling truly fulfilled with a glow of satisfaction. These are not as instantaneous and fleeting as scrolling Twitter, but they are far more lasting.
Welcome to the analogue world. It is scary. But it is wonderful. I can not wait to share my journey.