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Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “smartphones”

Saying ‘yes’ to ‘no’

Very busy manIt’s nice to be nice. But how nice is nice? Lost? Everyone wants to be appreciated and thought of kindly. And for this, many choose to act as such too. Often it leads to doing things over and above your limits or endurance. It means going out of your way to please other people, sometimes at the expense of your very self. But sometimes, all you have to do is simply say ‘no’.

It’s not easy, but sometimes it is necessary.

Trying to please everyone and be on top of everything, controlling as much as you can, because of the popular belief that ‘if not done by you, it won’t be done right’, will at one point of other result in more than just a perpetual state of “busyness”. It will lead to burnout. And then, being nice is no longer an option. It simply does not exist.

Like this amazing article explains, “burnout happens when you’ve been experiencing chronic stress for so long that your body and your emotional system have begun to shut down and are operating in survival mode.” It leads you into a state where you are unsure about everything, cannot make decisions, do not want to do anything, and have no desire to snap out of it either. It is close to depression, but with the added exhaustion, both physical and mental.

We tend to live in societies where being available 24/7 is seen as advantage but feels like the exact opposite. We need to feel the constant vibrations of phone calls, or hear the constant bleeps of emails and messages arriving to feel important. That’s why we spend most of our day with our faces stuck in a screen, to the point where we even fall asleep with these still in hand.

Somewhere along the line of technological development, we forgot that we are human beings, and transformed into “human doings”. We are the ones who created this “disease of being busy”. And we now occupy a world in which “we have more and more and more to do, with less time for leisure, less time for reflection, less time for community, less time to just… be?”

We have become so wired up, that it actually feels strange when we have nothing to do. As if it is a sin to not run around constantly. Life coaches themselves state that we need to allow ourselves a little break every now and then; to say “yes” to life by saying “no” a little more often. To allow ourselves to wonder at the marvels around us, to enjoy the small pleasures of life, to actually live.

We cannot please everyone. And no matter how hard we try, we never will. So why don’t we all just try to do the best we can, and enjoy the little time we have in this world. It all starts with two letters: “no”. Sometimes it’s all it takes. And if said as nicely as possible, you won’t lose face. You will just be seen as a person who knows and admits to their limits. And that takes more courage than struggling to do everything.


No one is too busy in this world. It’s all about priorities”.


Surviving without the Net

mac-internet-sharingThere is a child in a pram holding a tablet. It can barely say two words but it knows how to swerve its fingers in order to play a virtual game. There is another one which needs a screen in front of it depicting moving images, so it can eat a spoonful of food. Then there are the older ones that have a smartphone stuck to their hands as if their life depends on it. There is a man who enters the swimming pool with a digital gadget in a waterproof case. And these are not unique cases.

We spend our days fixed onto a screen; a digital depiction of reality, while real life passes us by. We are so deeply addicted to this new-age “disease” that we cannot even imagine life without it. Without a smartphone, a tablet, a computer, or simply put, the Internet.

So much, that when you are found in a location with no Internet access, you immediately classify it as an uncivilized place – because, really, who in this day and age does not offer free Wi-Fi!? – and then you struggle to survive a few days without the one thing that has become an intrinsic part of your day. You can feel the withdrawal symptoms already kicking in in less than 24 hours. You desperately try to find a Wi-Fi network anywhere. Simply to log-on and surf the web. Just open a browser onto any page. To view anything. Simply to feel ‘safe’ that you are online, even for 5 minutes. To sense that you are in familiar space, no matter if that is virtual.

By the end of day one, your hands are already itchy. You are even considering knitting. Simply to keep yourself busy.

We have become so addicted to the Internet – that place where you can find literally anything – that surviving without it seems like balancing without a net. And as we become all the more connected and digitally forward, we become socially awkward network junkies. All the while, reality continues to pass us by, without us even noticing.

There’s no app for Life

scorpions lebanon-714154It was such an emotional scene – Maggie had finally woken up from the year-long coma that had lasted the entire movie, and she knew as soon as she saw him that Jake was her husband, her soul-mate, the guy she was with for the past 8 years! And as we were all reaching out for the tissues, sniffing and trying to fight back the tears, some insensitive being in the front row decided it was time to check Facebook again, and *ding* there was that blinding light, flashing out and irritating everyone who was actually watching the movie.

Has this ever happened to you?

Have you ever been so drawn into a movie that you forget your reality for a while, and then all of a sudden get awaken by a mobile phone light?

Or have you been to a concert or theatre, where there you are trying to enjoy the live performance in front of you, but for the most part all you can see around you is arms stretched out waving smartphones and tablets in the air?

People nowadays are so intent on living high-tech that they forget to live at all.

Because they simply cannot stop to enjoy the things around them long enough, to actually take it all in. How often do you see tourists or even locals sitting at a beautiful square or park, yet all they do is stare at a screen – be it a smartphone, a tablet or a computer?

It is annoying. Because it seems that nothing is more important than being wired up constantly.

Even going to enjoy your favourite singer or band playing live is marred by tech-hipsters trying to record every single minute of the show – a recording they will probably never ever see. It’s a disturbance that affects you because it interferes with your enjoyment of a show you paid (sometimes dearly) to see. There is a performance happening right in front of you, yet the majority of the audience is viewing it through their screens.

Don’t get me wrong, technology is very useful and has many advantages, but that doesn’t mean you have to be so attached to it that you can’t even eat without constantly checking up online! Seeing a person for more than half an hour without a phone/tablet/computer as an extension of their hand is a rarity these days.

Sometimes, people are even so attached to what is on their screens that they don’t see things that are right in front of them. At all! Like Baratunde Thurston recalled in one of his articles, some youngsters were desperately looking for a diner, searching their phones for its locations, and asking passers-by, and he noted that had they not been glued to their phones, they might have seen the illuminated sign for the diner across the street.

It’s a shame to have all this technology at your fingertips and in essence miss out on life because you don’t know how to best use it, or more accurately, when to not use it.

Life is more than just an app on your phone; it’s what’s happening in front of you, or around you. And if you don’t pay attention, it might just slip by without you ever knowing.

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