Most of us have seen this video of a woman so engrossed by texting that she trips into a mall fountain. It’s funny. Who is this crazy woman and how could she be so oblivious?!?!?!?!? We’d never ever do anything like that, right? None of us knows a friend who almost walked into a crosswalk against the light. None of us knows anyone who almost walked into a signpost. None of us knows anyone who nearly got into a car accident while being distracted by a cellphone call. And surely none of us knows of anyone whose phone dropped into the toilet because they needed to be connected while pooping. None of that ever happens.
Yeah, we’re connected. We know all the news Google tells us is important. We can text snarky play by play of our crazy coworkers during meetings. We’ve got that down to a science. Connection! We can keep up with all the invented controversy around Justin Bieber or be the first to share a meme to friends. Connected! We need to check the Facebook to see how many likes our witty status update got in the last five minutes. We need to do this during meetings, during phone calls, during dinner, during movies. Repeatedly. We need to respond immediately to any alert from our device, just in case it makes us more connected.
I’m swamped. My life is so busy. I wish I had time for that. I never have a moment to myself. I’m on the go 24/7/365.
Sound familiar? We live in a culture that cultivates busy-ness, that worships a god called productivity. We live amid data, devices that demand our attention, television and radio and internet broadcasts that scream desperately for us to follow them. We live in an economy that demands we buy more even if we don’t need it.
No wonder we’re overwhelmed.
What if we took a step back and subtracted? Omitted from our lives the things that weren’t truly important. Cut away the convenient. Rejected distractions that did not serve us.