Leaving my neighborhood this morning, I noticed a group of six middle school students waiting for the school bus. There was no talking. There was no interaction. There was no laughing. There was no interconnectedness. Each student had on headphones listening to music, their arms crossed, and staring off into space or focused on their phone. They were completely disconnected from each other.
Immediately, I looked inward at my own actions and wondered if I do the same thing. What are my “headphones”? What keeps me disconnected? Here are just a few:
- My cell phone
- My computer
- The internet
- Working when I don’t have to work
By no means am I suggesting that any of these things are bad. In an age of technology, social media, access to internet/email/work at our fingertips 24/7, we can easily disconnect from our surroundings, both unconsciously and consciously. Technology has many benefits, but in our attempts to be connected (virtually), we miss the opportunity to strengthen our relationships and enjoy the connection from genuine human interaction.
Are You Connected or Disconnected?
Take a moment to answer the following questions:
- What disconnects me from being connected to the things I believe are important?
- What environments do these affect me?
- What is the impact of being disconnected?
Look at connectedness like a path in an open field. When used, the path is recognizable, provides direction, and is predictable because you know the end destination. Now imagine you stop using that path. Over time, grass begins grow and covers the once identifiable path. Clarity, predictability, and direction are now compromised. The same happens when we remain disconnected.
Now review your answers and determine what can you do today to create stronger connections in your relationships both personally and professionally. Let’s disconnect from the distractions to reconnect with WHAT and WHO are important to us. Start with these three “Be” statements, then create your own and share.
- Be Present: Avoid the “technology trap” and turn it off or mute when you are in a group. Put it away.
- Be Engaged: Listen. Communicate. Participate. Repeat.
- Be Enthusiastic: Positive attitudes, smiles, and laughter are contagious.
“Everybody laughs the same in every language because laughter is a universal connection.”