When does it become too much of a good thing?

The most successful person I ever knew was the owner of a company I worked for years ago. This guy was just an I once asked him, with just a touch of youthful naivety, what the secret to his success was. He indicated that he never wasted a minute. He went on to emphasize that he did his best thinking, and got his best ideas, during quiet reflection while driving. I remember thinking that this was not the first time I heard people indicate using their drive time to such advantage.

I found myself thinking of that 20-year-old conversation just recently, while noticing a fellow expressway driver zoom by me as he simultaneously scrolled on a phone. I wondered how many great ideas this person typically generated while driving.

This story may be allegorical to our lives today. We have at our fingertips tools unimagined only 15 years ago. Advancements in cell phone technology and online media provide us with incredible opportunities to communicate with people more than ever. Utilized to advantage, these tools enable us to stay connected with the most important people in our lives.

Therapists often recommend to their clients the extreme importance of strengthening their relationships and to avoid isolating themselves. What a wonderful time to live in when technology makes it easier than ever to communicate and stay connected.

What is it costing us though?

There is a therapeutic technique called cost benefit analysis, which can help us answer this question:

First, take a look at your belief in something and rate your certainty of that belief. In this case, that people averaging 6 hours daily on social media is a good thing. Now, let’s list all of the advantages of spending so much time on our phones and social media: Well, it’s fun; it activates a lot of pleasure centers in our brains; and, as previously mentioned, it is a great way to stay in touch with important people in our lives.

But what if the important people in our lives are in front of us right NOW and we are not paying attention to them? Indeed, what if we often fail to be mindful of the very world around us as we are so actively engaged in a world that exists elsewhere? What if we are losing precious time to quietly reflect on our own, which research indicates is when much of our personal growth occurs?

It is a personal matter how a person chooses to live their life, so only you can provide the answers. I challenge you to consider and reflect upon the questions.

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