It’s finally here: the moment in history when wearable technology crossed the threshold from niche to mainstream. Today it’s watches; tomorrow we’ll see glasses, contact lenses, virtual reality, AI, and implantables. Coaches and teachers fret over their students’ smartphone addictions. That concern will soon become obsolete.
I am a champion of technology, a perpetual optimist that each new technology makes the world just a little bit better. It also makes the world just a little bit worse if we’re not wise in how we use it.
Yesterday I had a student-athlete sprint away from her warm-up because her Apple Watch indicated she was getting a phone call that might be important (it wasn’t). The day before I scolded a student-athlete for staring at her Apple Watch instead of focusing on her workout (again, not important). That was only in 72 hours, and that was only what I noticed.
Last week I published an interview with Fredonia’s Director of Counseling Services about the rise of anxiety in college. It’s easy to understand the rise in anxiety considering we’re now wearing stimulation on our wrists.
It should be telling that Steve Jobs would not allow the iPad in his house, and that Bill Gates would not allow his kids to have cell phones until they were 14. Some of the highest-ranking tech professionals in Silicon Valley send their kids to schools that prohibit the use of digital technology. They know the technology they produce has a dark side: that it pulls you away from the very happiness you thought you were getting by using the technology.
In short, it pulls you away from the people in front of you. That’s where happiness is.
You’ll notice a new tab at the top of my website called “This Week.” Here’s what it says inside:
“Each Friday I send an e-mail to subscribers about something I did the previous week to improve.
It might be about improving my work as a coach and writer. It might be about improving my relationships. It might be about discipline, happiness, ambition, romance, athleticism, art, philosophy, or anything else I’m thinking about that week.
Regardless, it’s always about the art of living wisely.
What I learn can probably help you too. If you’d like the next e-mail, sign-up here: https://goo.gl/M2ksRz“
“Of any activity you do, ask yourself: If I were the last person on earth, would I still do it?” ~ Steven Pressfield, The War of Art
Would you still do your homework, even though nobody is left to judge your intelligence?
Would you still post pictures on Instagram, even though nobody is left to judge their attractiveness?
Would you still ride the elliptical, even though nobody is left to judge your body?
All three activities, though beneficial in a world with billions of people, wouldn’t be worth doing if you were the last person on earth. In this post-apocalyptic world, how would you spend your time?
It’s worth spending more (most?) of that time, that way, right now.
I started exercising every day.
I stopped working 50-60 hours per week, restricting myself to 40. The extra time in the office made my life (and my athletes’ lives) worse.
I realized that my relationships at work are more important than the work itself.
I realized that my relationships outside of work were being neglected.
I started visiting my mom more often.
I started walking or biking to work every day.
I started listening to podcasts every chance I got.
I started leaving my phone on airplane mode for most of the day.
I stopped wishing my life was different than exactly the way it is.
I don’t think you do. Not really.
I think what you really want is the feeling of intimacy, and it turns out that intimacy can be felt just as easily with a stranger as with an intimate partner.
That’s the theory behind Lisa Daron’s project, “The Connection Cure,” her journey across the country to teach people about the power of “micro-moments” of human connection:
“A micro-moment is a genuine positive exchange, not just with a loved one or intimate partner, but with a stranger. And this psychologist Barbara Fredrickson discovered that in a micro-moment, what happens in your body is the exact same thing that happens when you’re with your intimate partner.
What becomes possible when we look at every human being we see as an opportunity for health and wellness? What changes? Does it change the way we look at people? Will it make us look at someone differently we know that in a micro-moment of connection we can biochemically change our bodies?”
Instead of spending this Valentine’s Day wallowing in perceived loneliness, watch Barbara Fredrickson’s TED Talk, “Remaking Love” and change the way you think about love forever.
When I was in college I worked as a referee for intramurals. We were told to always be on the lookout for the rare participant who thought it would be fun to have a few drinks before playing. Particularly in broomball, which is played on ice wearing sneakers, alcohol consumption can make for a deadly evening.
Today, I suspect it’s more common for that rare participant to show up high rather than drunk. Same idea.
It’s also possible, though much less likely, for a college athlete to make the incredibly dumb decision to show up high to practice. That type of athlete doesn’t read this blog, but you do, and you would probably notice that dumb decision before your coach does. You’re to blame if you do nothing about it.
“Coach, I think Greg was high at practice today.” Yes, you’re ratting your teammate out.
But ratting him out is better than being culpable for the destruction of the team altogether.
I’ve noticed a resurgence of incomplete pants over the past few years. Given my lack of fashion sense I cannot comment on them from a stylistic perspective. However, I do know that they shouldn’t be worn to a job interview.
Jeans with holes in them may say, “I have style,” or “I’m a fun person,” but they do not say, “I am here to get the job done.”