It’s a Mad World are You too ?
In today's world, we are bombarded by a constant stream of information, noise, stress and technology. From social media updates to breaking news and email notifications, family and business pressures, the digital era has brought about a cacophony that threatens to drown out the essential human need for connections with others and quiet reflection. What implication does fast developing AI have on society and me ? OMG the Banking and Financial Systems, viruses, vaccines, my investments !! I’m guilty of absorbing this noise and paying the price with an undercurrent of anxiety that drives me to unhealthy life choices. Studies show that our mental health and well-being are suffering as we prioritize digital chatter over personal interaction. It's time to reevaluate our priorities and rediscover the importance of “what’s important”.
Slowly and All of a Sudden
I spent 15 years in Silicon Valley as a tech Co-Founder where productivity and the gogo startup world was a roller coaster of stress, yet I enjoyed the rush and challenge of creating new companies, attracting employees, investment and revenue generating customers. All of this came at a price and I had prioritized sixteen hour work days and left my family and loved ones marginalized. I had checked out of real life with my time engulfed in the vortex of entrepreneurialism because that was what you did in Silicon Valley, a cultural norm. Eventually I hit the burn out stage from this craziness; divorced and suffering from strained relations my health was in shambles. In the same way I had allowed myself to succumb to those choices, we as a society are falling prey to technology. Social media, chats, apps, games and every facet of our life is performed through the portal of our phones at the expense of ourselves and those around us.
A few years ago after some successes I began to slow down and used my experience as a startup founder to become a VC. This gave me time to do what I enjoyed, helping startups yet I needed to re-imagine the life I wanted to live. I moved to a Caribbean Island, surfed, connected with nature and began to repair my relationships but was this enough ? Today I still feel the nagging onslaught of the information age trying to keep up with group chats, social media and personal relationships. Time is fleeting and shouldn’t we make choices to spend that time as quality, the most beneficial to ourselves and those around us ?
I’m guilty of being a power user and although it serves great utility and efficiency both personally and professionally at times I feel as though I’m a slave to our Lord and Savior, the mobile phone. Recently I spent time with a friend and business associate and there wasn’t a moment of our in-person interaction that he wasn’t posting in a mutual group chat. It’s understandable that we want our voices to be heard but is this healthy ? We can waste hours in such endeavors while ignoring a balanced life and relationships. I’m convinced the immediate gratification of this digital world has created a society with the attention span of gnats and I’m one of the guilty. This is evidenced by the hyperbolic world of influencers and the some of highly acclerated content they create. It can be mind numbingly tasty to consume such content and like fast food it leaves you with an uncomfortable after effect.
Human Interaction, a Scarce Commodity
To counteract the negative effects of the stresses of modern life and technology, it's crucial to nurture meaningful connections and seek moments of tranquility. Here are some ways I look to foster a better quality of life and peace of mind:
Gate My Exposure: Every month or so I archive group chats where I’m not participating or adding value. I like to focus my social media posts about things that have positively impacted me or others. I limit my Twitter/Social media attention to those I truly respect and learn from. I limit my exposure to the media. I use my mornings to exercise and my evenings to reflect all while listening to music which helps me get my mind in the right place. When relationships are long distance and chat based I like to make time to connect on quarterly calls.
Prioritize Face-to-Face Interactions: I like to make time for social gatherings, business meetings, family dinners, and conversations with friends. Spending quality time with loved ones allows me to create lasting memories, forge deeper bonds, and experience the joy of true connection.
Embrace Nature: I can’t underscore the importance of the outdoors. It is proven to reduce stress and improve mental well-being. When you’re looking at nature you're not looking at your phone and there’s something so rewarding and liberating about that.
Practice Active Listening: I try to engage in conversations wholeheartedly, giving my full attention to the speaker. This not only deepens connections but also helps in developing empathy and understanding. Not so easy for those of us with ADD.
Cultivate Empathy and Compassion: Fostering a mindset of empathy and compassion towards others can lead to more fulfilling relationships and a sense of belonging within our communities.
Find those activities which bring you joy.
Behavior and Reward
The pervasive nature of technology, news, and stress in our lives can be overwhelming and detrimental to our health. Our phones are a modern necessity and can also be the cause and effect of our feeling of hopelessness in a world that seems to be spinning out of control. I like to remember a quote from the Dali Lama, “If you want to change the world, first try to improve and bring about change within yourself. Everything we do has some effect, some impact”. Consciously nurturing human connections and stepping away from the digital world, we can restore our peace of mind and achieve a better quality of life. A day with less of my phone is more time and space to embrace the rewards of creativity. In a world where disconnection is the norm, let us make a conscious effort to embrace the power of human interaction and rediscover the beauty in the simplicity of genuine connection.
By: Kurt Pfluger.
Kurt Pfluger is a recovering entrepreneur and the founder of tech venture and advisory firm Tikivation LLC, he’s a Venture Partner at LD Capital www.ldcap.com investing in Web3 technology. Twitter: @Web3pointer