You, me and everyone else in the room knows that when you are answering emails on your mobile you aren't really present. Your kids know it. Your co-workers know it. Your clients know it. Your spouse knows it. You know it. I've come to terms with this in my own life.
But I recently had a deeper insight. When I am always plugged-in to a device, I am not really present in my own life. I don't enjoy my life as much when I live in the half-present. Not only does constant connectivity lessen my enjoyment of life, it distracts me from achieving the creative goals I set out for myself. The brain needs mindless time to reflect. This is why we come up with our best ideas in the shower.
I guarantee that if there were a tv screen in the shower, we would draw less inspiration from the shower experience. Who knows what major works of art, creativity and innovation would be lost.
Constant connectivity doesn't mean that you or I should always be digitally connected. Take for example, the interuptive mobile call. You're out with friends or a spouse, and your phone rings. 99% of the time it won't be urgent. By answering the call (as almost everyone does), you remove yourself from the present at the prospect of connecting to something greater.
Here's my big insight: connecting to something greater will rarely come by leaving ones present surroundings.
I tried this over the past couple of days. I drive just over an hour to and from work each day, totalling well over 2 hours of driving time. In the past, I listened to podcasts, newscasts, audiobooks, took conference calls, ate more than I should have etc. But for the past two days I dedicated one direction of my drive to silence. Meaningless silence. This gave me the mental space to take stock of my life situation, notice trends at work and at home I hadn't properly considered, and made my efforts both at work and at home far more productive.
Try it. This sunday when you're doing those meaningless chores, turn off the radio, iPhone and all the other backgroud noise. Just be. It works.
Inspired by the video below: