May 27, 2016
Like never before, we live in a time of instantaneousness. Have a question? Google it. Want pizza? Get it delivered. Need to contact someone from a boat in the middle of a lake? Text them. Want to hear the b-sides from the debut release of an obscure mid-90’s band at 2:30 am on a Tuesday while you’re lying in bed? Call it up on iTunes or Spotify. Looking for a tutorial on underwater basket weaving? Log on to YouTube. Want to see what you’ll look like in 80 years? There’s an app for that.
With all of this instantaneous access to virtually anything, we have fewer and fewer opportunities to practice just being. That is, unless we create it, the occasion is rare to just sit and be present with what is as opposed to what else, what else, what else! It’s not a “bad” thing. Obviously, we all enjoy choices, opportunities, and abundance—three things that technology has delivered in spades—but, is there still a value in tuning in to the here-and-now?
The constant presence and the immediate availability of options and alternatives has produced a type of feeling that might be called instantity. That is, instantaneousness + insanity = instantity.
Our ability to have our answers and needs met instantly has, perhaps, created a cultural climate that caters to impulses, rather than reflection. This can produce a sensation of total overload. An overwhelming feeling of “too many choices”. Not only can this transform rapidly into FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) but it can also result in abrupt and lasting stagnation, a feeling that translates to: “I don’t know which of these 10,000 things I want to do…so, I’ll do nothing at all.”
How is that even possible? We might ask. How is it that we have so many options that we resort to doing nothing? It’s likely that, on some level, we have all experienced this. Maybe we spend hours scrolling through social media watching other people do awesome things and we think, “I wish I was doing that.” And then continue scrolling and sitting there. Maybe we spend all weekend binging on Netflix thinking, “I should really be doing something else with my time.” Only to look forward to doing it again next weekend. Or, maybe we sit across from someone silently texting someone else who is a million miles away. In all cases, it’s not “bad” to do these things, however, if we don’t leave room for anything else, and if we don’t actually get out and go for it—meaning, live our dreams, accomplish our goals, and make life happen—what are we really doing?
The first step is becoming aware of this dynamic. We can ask: Am I really here right now? Where is my mind? Why is it elsewhere? Would I rather be doing something else? If so, why? And, if I am not choosing to do that, why am I choosing to keep doing what I am doing?
That’s it, the first step, is recognition. Learning how to work with this acknowledgment comes next…
Be your greatness. Start. Do. Go.
Zach Carlsen is the grateful lead blogger at StrengthsLife.com
His strengths of Ideation, Connectedness, Input, Strategic, and Empathy have taken him all over the world. He is an inventor, athlete, joyous wanderer/wonderer, translator, poet, and Transformation Coach.
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