Beware! There’s a new addiction sweeping the country. It is found in boardrooms, business meetings, restaurants, and class rooms.
“Huh? Another new drug on the streets?”
Not exactly, but serious just the same. The culprit – technology.
Here’s an example, and some healthy hints to keep this from becoming a big problem.
I have an acquaintance that is easy prey for any salesman with the newest techno-gadget on the market. His home is filled to the rafters with electronic doodads.
His most recent purchase is the newest and best phone on the market. It has, literally, all of the bells ‘n whistles. It is his “right hand” and usually in his right hand. He lives by the American Express slogan of “Don’t leave home without it”.
What does it do?
It is a phone, does text messaging, is a planning tool, contact database, camera, and does everything that my computer does, and more. It has unique ring tones and vibrate modes for each function so my friend knows if he is receiving a phone call, text message, picture, or whatever else he can receive.
The one thing it does not do is build effective relationships. Instead, it creates a state of scattered instant gratification and urgency.
I’ve been in the same room with this gentleman in meetings, restaurants, and with his family.
When his phone rings or vibrates, he turns all of his attention to it. He ignores the people around him, and deals with his phone call or text message. When he finishes and enters back into the conversation, he will make a statement or ask a question that is totally out of context, and often something that has just been discussed.
The folks with him give him that curious, head-cocked-to-the-side, eyebrow-raised look, meaning “Where the *$&! have you been?”
By his actions, he is giving a loud message to those around him. The unspoken message is that those in-person relationships are not as important as the tele-marketer, dry cleaner, or person selling a less-than-reputable website, who lives on the other end of the air waves.
His obsession with his tool is destroying his relationships, and he doesn’t seem to be consciously aware of it. The word “tool” is referring to the phone – get your mind out of the gutter.
Let’s look at both sides of the addiction and how to keep it from ruining your life.
Have you become hooked on technology to the point where it controls you, rather than the other way around?
Here are healthy hints to avoid the addiction:
o Use the tools. That is the reason you have them. These technologies have been designed with a message system to help you simplify your life. Enjoy the privilege of having the option to use them.
o TURN IT OFF. Consciously stop prior to entering a meeting with others and turn the power off – not vibrate, totally off.
o Focus on the people in your presence. They are more important than anything else right now. Treat them with respect and dignity, as you would like to be treated. By your actions, show them that you are totally present, physically and mentally.
o Check your messages later, in your own space, away from personal interactions.
o Reply to voice or text messages as soon as possible, in a professional, respectful manner.
Do you know people who are Techno-junkies? Help them as follows:
o ASK them politely to turn their phone off when entering into a meeting or discussion. The key word is ASK. If you tell them to turn it off, they may tell you to go to – somewhere hot – and it won’t be Phoenix.
o Assure them that you value their abilities, knowledge, creativity, and co-operation.
o Acknowledge them for their attention and presence.
o Thank them for their dedication and time.
We live in a fast-paced, high-tech world. Technology is relatively cheap, and easily replaceable. Use the available tools, but be cautious about becoming addicted to them. The effects can be as destructive as drugs. Carefully monitor your time that is consumed by e-mails, phone calls, and web surfing.
Use the hints above to use the technology effectively, and make your relationships high-value and indispensable. It is worth the effort.
Become consciously aware of your actions and habits, and then make healthy, non-addictive wise choices.