Put Down the Phone! (And Engage in the Moment)

Put down the phone!

Which is exactly what I’m going to do… in… just… a… moment.

Just as soon as I… Oh! So close to getting 3 stars on level 1-18 of Angry Birds!

What were we talking about? Oh, yeah… being in the moment.

Have you ever been talking with someone — or trying to talk with someone — and it seems like you just can’t buy their attention because they keep looking back at their phone?

Have we gotten to the point where a little electronic device is more interesting than human interaction?

And by the way, I’m betting you’ve been guilty of this same offense. I know I have been… and it’s usually my wife who catches me. Isn’t it sad that it’s the people closest to us who are usually on the receiving end of such rude behavior?

Today’s session is not about phone etiquette, though.

Actually, I see the phone scenario as a perfect metaphor for how we live our lives:

We’re constantly distracted from what’s most important by little things that are rather insignificant — at least at that particular moment.

Wouldn’t you agree that being engaged with the person right in front of you is more important than anything that is on your phone? Or your computer screen? Or the TV?

Or… What about if you’re in the middle of an important project? You’re in the zone and then all of a sudden the computer dings — new email!! Oh, better check it out! It might be important! (How many emails a day do you get that are so important they require your immediate attention?)

Or you’re about to sit down and finally start that blog you’ve wanted to write. Let me just check my favorite entertainment site first… Oh, they’re bringing Dallas back to TV… let me just read that one article real quick…

Can you relate to any of this? We’re like the dog that jerks his head around every time someone yells “Squirrel!”

Instead of embracing the philosophy of This Moment Matters, we’re living as if this moment doesn’t matter… as if we’re hoping something better is just around the corner!

And whether we realize it or not, whether we feel it immediately or not, there are consequences.

Just like the scenario with the phone: Do you think that is strengthening your relationship with the person you’re in a conversation with? Do you think it makes them feel important? Do you think they’ll remember that in the future — especially if you do it time and time again?

Or what about when you break out of your zone on that project and let yourself get distracted by an email… Now how long will take take you to get back on track? Will you still be able to meet your deadline? Or even if you do, will the quality of the work suffer? Could that impact your future raises or promotions — particularly if this is a habit?

And lastly, what about that blog you were going to start? Will you just read that one article? Or is there a chance you’ll get lost chasing other rabbits? So maybe you won’t start the blog today… Maybe you’ll just put it off tomorrow, when you can get a fresh start on it.

I’m talking to myself here, too, by the way.

I have to say to myself several times each day: This Moment Matters. This.. Moment… Matters.

And when I re-engage in the moment, I find that my interactions with friends and family, and colleagues and clients, are more meaningful… I make more progress toward achieving my goals… I’m just more productive, period.

That’s the way I want to live, and I’m betting it’s how you want to live, too.

That’s the only way we can experience a full, rewarding, meaningful life.

But it takes discipline.

So the next time you’re in a conversation with someone, remember, put down the phone — don’t even dare glance at it (unless your child is about to be born or something like that — and then, at least tell the other person so they understand and they can be in that moment with you!).

But remember: the phone is just a metaphor.

Always focus on the moment at hand… wherever you are, whatever you’re doing. Something will always try to grab your attention. It can wait.

This moment matters.

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