Monday, July 22, 2019

Smile, It’s Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Build Meaningful Relationships

The price of anything is the 
amount of life you exchange for it.
--- Thoreau

About six years ago, a friend of mine was sitting in a restaurant with his wife in a small town in France and noticed that almost everyone in the restaurant was looking at their smartphone while they were having dinner. Then he noticed he and his wife were doing the same.

When I told him I was writing a book on this subject, he asked, “Are you sure spending less time on the Internet and their smartphones is something people want to do?

At the time, I didn’t know how to answer him.

“It’s kind of like legal heroin,” he continued. “It’s really come to this point where people are addicted and many are happily addicted.”

Stanford psychologist Kelly McGonigal begs to differ. “People have a pathological relationship with their devices,” she claims. “People feel not just addicted, but trapped.”

Perhaps most disconcerting about this story is that it occurred in 2011. Today, this story is no longer a story: it’s what we witness just about every time we go out.

To share this story today is like recounting that you went to a baseball game and observed the fans standing up and cheering. What’s not new is not news.

This week, take some time to reflect on your relationship with your phone. Design some strategies that keep you in control of how you use technology rather than the other way around. The quality of your relationships with the people you love hangs in the balance.

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Anthony Silard is the president of The Center for Social Leadership, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday every other week, enter your email here (1-step only). To support The Center for Social Leadership's Young Leaders Program for disadvantaged youth either directly or through Amazon.com purchases, click here.

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