Speed enthrals. Fast cars & internet connections, amazing feats of the human body, whatever your favourite type of adrenaline rush, it often involves speed.
It invigorates us. We feel alive. We can do anything. We are invincible. In short, we are the sh*t.
I can't deny that I seek out that rush on a regular basis because few other natural feelings are quite like it.
But, speed also has a dark side. It makes us selfish and dumb.
Thanks to technology evolution, we have applied our need to seek the thrill of speed to our everyday lives. However, the human body was not build for it and the consequences are dire.
- Causes tunnel vision: we stink at multi-tasking but we're too busy to notice, even while driving.
- Costs us the present: we prevent ourselves from being in the moment by incessantly taking care of small details that pop up on our smart phones. We no longer notice the subtleties of the world around us. Small wonders go unnoticed.
- Induces a "busy buzz": everything can come at us quickly and we feel a rush from the pressure to address "to do's" quickly, while ignoring the bigger picture.
- Hijacks our relationships: screen time robs others of our time and attention. Interactions become shallow and meaningless. Warming a seat next to someone does not fit the definition of quality time.
- Slows us down: constant interruptions require us to refocus on what we were doing when we were interrupted. That constant need to resume an interrupted task is time consuming.
- Erodes our patience: our world is increasingly measured in nano seconds. Computer time is now the benchmark for how long we are willing to wait for anything. Sadly, the basic tempo of human conversation and interaction now bores us.
- Diminishes our humanity: the depth of interaction humans can achieve is unique in the world. Yet, we are giving preference to short bursts or communication by using acronyms and emoticons as opposed to written words and face-to-face communication. We eschew the phone in favour of a few strokes of the keyboard. After all, calling someone is just too slow and you have to ask how someone is doing--social graces are such a waste of time.
- Stamps out creativity: what ideas could you generate if you could just sit in contemplation? It seems we only allow free thought during shower time, the daily commute or sleep. Every minute of our day needs to be filled with something because we can't afford the time (except for TV and Internet surfing). Heaven forbid we set aside any time for mere observation and reflection.
- Makes us stupid: we cannot stay focused or attentive for long durations. Critical thinking and problem solving are becoming lost arts. We are happier avoiding problems by seeking the instant gratification of checking off easy tasks than addressing larger issues or challenges that would make our world a better place. Lack of focus limits our potential.
- Brings about status anxiety: if you are not busy, you feel there is something wrong with you. Status is increasingly associated with how connected you need to be and how many hours you work. Fire fighting now includes the use of a keyboard. We are so focused on maintaining this status that we let it trump all other aspects of our lives.
- Inflicts unnecessary worry: through email, texting, Facebook or Twitter, we hear about problems instantly, no matter where we are or what we are doing. Often, we receive information about a problem or situation we cannot address in the immediate. Our brain does not understand this dichotomy and preoccupation or worry, brought about by our inability to act, ensues.
- Kills: anxiety and stress increase cortisol levels, inflammation and blood pressure, reduce sleep quality and make us vulnerable to depression.
So, put the phone down and no one gets hurt. Who knows, you might make the world a better place in the process.
Are you addicted to speed? How do you get your fix? Do you manage your screen time?
Source for hallway image: Shutterstock Source for iPhone5 image: F2P