Stop. Look. Listen. I believe all of us recall hearing this as a small child. As well as certainly telling our own children to stop, look, and listen.
Most likely when you read the title and even began reading this blog you thought of crossing the road.
I do not blame you at all. Because truthfully the majority of the time that is where those three actions are vitally important. But that isn’t the only time.
I got a gentle nudging reminder that utilizing those skills is something that I need to be doing a lot more than I do, and that I’m not alone.
Have you ever slowed down just a bit and noticed as you walked through a cafeteria, a fast food restaurant, or a local coffee shop, what people are doing? How many of them have something in their hand, that isn’t food or drink?
These fabulous little devices, like I’m using right now, are drawing our attention constantly.
If I wasn’t already home and snuggled up against my pillows, I would be tempted to stroll through a few places and count exactly how many people are busily focused on the technology in the palm of their hand versus the people that are literally inches away from them.
You see, earlier today my husband Ken was sitting at the end of the table with his iPhone 6+ in his hand completing a project. I was at the other end of the table enjoying a cup of bone broth and responding to a friend who had texted me.
I just happened to glance up in time to see my mom look at my husband and his hands, me and my hands, and then look down at her cup of coffee.
She never said a word. She didn’t have to.
I realized in that moment how often we get caught up in technology and handling a multitude of little projects, without even realizing that we’re ignoring others.
So I stopped. I pushed my phone to the side.
I looked. I looked directly at my mom, and I asked her a question.
I listened. I looked right in her eyes and listened to her as she spoke to me.
She became animated and we had a really nice conversation. Just a few minutes, looking at each other and listening to each other.
Once we finished, I was able to take a few moments to text with my friend.
Both my mom and my friend felt heard and important.
Since then it has come to mind a few different times today. I realized how often that I have conversations with people that are physically around me and yet I seldom stop, look and listen to them.
Oh, it’s not that I’m ignoring them.
It’s just that I’m multitasking. I’m able to handle the things on my phone as I’m listening to what they’re saying and responding to them.
I’m not being rude.
I’m just so busy.
Or am I ?
I read that some of the wealthiest and most successful people actually set boundaries as to when they use technology!
Can you believe that?!
Like how can you literally leave your phone in one room and be in another room and enjoy a meal?
What if someone texted?
What if someone called?
What if someone posted something important on social media?
I hope that you can pick up on the sarcasm. Because honestly, as I’m writing this, I am talking to myself. This handy little technical device that keeps me so very connected with my world, has also managed to begin to disconnect me with my world.
Oh, don’t worry, I’m not saying to completely turn your back on technology. I know that I am not going to. But, what I am saying is that I think it’s time for us, myself especially, to do a little introspection.
So these questions I ask, are for myself as well as you.
When are times that I could be more conscious of others around me and less distracted by phone?
Could I begin to set aside specific times, (maybe during meals), that I focus on family and friends that are around me instead of those in my digital world?
How much more of my time could be productive if I wasn’t being distracted by my phone?
I hope that all of this is helped, I know it has for me. Also, I have to say if you’re reading this on your phone, that I am really grateful that you have a phone!
Let me know what you think about this blog, and if you have implemented any of this into your life. Also any suggestions for us or our readers as to how we can all begin to stop, look, and listen.
Got to go answer the phone…. (Just kidding) …… Amy
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Photo credit: Man with the phone. Unsplash.com. By Seyi Ariyo
Photo credit: Stop Sign. Unsplash.com. By Will Porada
Photo credit: coffee cup hands and phone. I splash.com. By Anete Lusina