If you have a teenager or spend any time around one, then you know that they are often lost in their cell phone and 100% unaware of the world around them. They are either Facebooking, Instagramming, or involved in some other form of social media and completely uninvolved with you. Well, I had a plan to combat this rather annoying little habit and I was actually kind of surprised at the result.
Not too long ago, I went to visit my daughter and I took her and a group of her closest friends out to eat. We got to the restaurant and were seated at our table when I made an announcement that I can almost bet none of them expected.
“I want you all to put your cell phones in the middle of the table for the duration of the meal,” I said boldly. “And the first one to pick theirs up before we are ready to leave has to pay the bill. If none of you do, then this meal is on me.”
You can kind of guess the looks that I was getting at this point. Some were looks of terror as they wondered how they were going to go the entire hour and a half without checking on their friend’s most recent actions. Others had looks of bewilderment as they were searching the recesses of their mind to make sense of why I would ask them to do such a crazy thing.
As I suspected, the entire meal passed without one person reaching for their phone that lay in the middle of the table, easily accessible but almost carrying a disease at this point. A disease that would cost them financially if they dared to extend their arm and try to grab it.
Once I had paid the bill as promised, I suddenly lost their attention once again as all of the girls tried to quickly catch up on all that they had missed during the course of our meal. They were all absolutely buried in their communication device and completely oblivious to the world around them. Now, what is so surprising about this, you ask?
The next day, I bumped into a couple of the girls who actually thanked me for making them give up their phones the night before. They loved the fact that we just sat and talked and weren’t prisoner to the world that existed in the electronic device that they’d grown so accustomed to checking minute by minute.
Apply this to your own life and ask yourself how often you put your phone down and truly engage in the world around you. Are you a prisoner to your handheld communication device or do you actually pay attention to whom and what is around you?
If you spend a lot of time lost in your phone, notebook, or tablet, think of all of the things you are missing when you aren’t conscious of your surroundings. Consider the talks you aren’t having with your loved ones and the opportunities that you don’t realize simply because you aren’t present in the moment.
I challenge you to put down your cell phones more often and correspond with the people around you, physically around you. Share a smile and a laugh with them. Tell stories and get to know each other. Live in the life that you have, not the one that exists in some computer world or in some far away land.
When you do, you may be surprised at the results. You’ll have deeper relationships and a more meaningful existence solely because you were involved and not a bystander in your own life. You will be living your YOUlogy.