Last newsletter, I discussed how technology has impacted our ability to relate to each other. Since then, I’ve been thinking about how it affects the way we relate to ourselves, our inner dialogue. The technologies we now use on a daily (hourly? minute-by-minute?) basis has the potential to impact our lives tremendously, but it is up to us to determine if that impact is a positive one. It means that we have to be conscious, even vigilant, in the way we use them. It means that sometimes we have to turn off our devices and reflect.
Of course we know this; it’s a “thing” now, one more item on a long list of “shoulds” – just like exercise, family dinners, and meditation. However, a healthy technological life isn’t something you can just check off your list and move on. It permeates every part of your life, it is the primary conduit through which so much is accomplished in your day-to-day. It is also an extension of your thought life (just check your Google history if you don’t believe me). So, it makes sense that we approach technology with a healthy respect, an understanding of its power and potential to change us if we allow it. While change is unstoppable, we must remember the we have the power to influence change in a positive way.
When I work with new clients, I often introduce them to the concept of “scanning,” a practice used in strategic foresight to make sense of large amounts of information with the intention of uncovering trends and potential events. While there is a concrete process for scanning, I like my clients to adopt it more as a philosophy, a new way of looking at the world and processing information. In order to do this though, they must learn to be conscious and intentional in their acquisition of new information. In the same way, I think we could all benefit from being more conscious and intentional in the way we use technology. Sure, there are many, many things we could be doing with technology, but what are things we should be doing with it? Being intentional is really central to the idea of “shaping your future,” rather than allowing yourself to be shaped by a future you never intended. It is a simple practice or philosophy that, when applied to your interaction with technology, can put the power back in your hands.