“We have no Wifi. Talk to each other. Pretend it is 1995.”
I saw this sign at a restaurant while cruising through the streets of a wonderful European city this summer and I started laughing at what was written on it.
Two decades ago you could see couples, families, business partners and employees from different walks of life engage and participate in various interesting conversations while pertaining permanent eye contact and not losing sight of the topic discussed.
What seemed to be the norm two decades ago has vanished almost entirely.
Today when you enter a restaurant whether that’s in Europe, the US or somewhere in Asia, you encounter the very same pattern. The meaning of eye contact and sticking to the conversation has mutated into scrolling through social media and news feeds with lightning speed while hopping through meaningless topics regardless of the audience around.
While one might argue that this model has a certain accuracy when referring to teenagers and young adults, you may come to the conclusion by taking a closer look at the society that this particular phenomenon has captured the vast majority of humans regardless of age, gender, social status, country, race and you name it “identity box”.
Rather than ask the obvious question:
Why did WiFi aka a piece of technology change our behavior?
… we should ponder and ask a better one:
How can we reverse engineer behavioral patterns to better understand what the human psyche is facing on a large scale?
Food for thought.
The WiFi Trick
Back in 1995 we used to set up meetups, dates, family gatherings and business meetings days, weeks or even months ahead. Some used landline phones, others relied on fax machines while the old-fashioned ones sticked to good old handwritten letters.
Life was easy. Or maybe we simply didn’t overcomplicate the process. Either way, attention was at an all time high and conversations were full of life and light.
In the age of WiFi things have changed quite a bit. I barely sit down for lunch or dinner with clients and fellow entrepreneurs who come to the restaurant, cafe or business event without their precious mobile phone. Out of those who proudly carry their smartphones as an extension of their body, only a limited number is deliberately choosing to shut down their “souvenir” or put it on airplane mode during the conversation.
For these folks, walking unconsciously through life has become a habit. More so, a memory so deeply engraved into their minds that the slightest glitch in the ecosystem, matrix, energy field or whatever you wanna call it, will go totally unnoticed.
The marketing world loves to tout the “attention” horn because it’s a buzzword that triggers a psychological reaction leading to certain action points and ultimately driving sales home.
If you give yourself permission and dare to take a deeper look into it, you realize the facade of a technological game so well designed and coded that even the most sophisticated mind is challenged to its utmost core to be able to see through the maze or more importantly, to realize we’re mere players in a maze within another maze.
Let’s give ourselves a little break and get back to the fundamentals of life as a human being.
Communication, connection, community – these simple yet highly meaningful terms get thrown around a lot lately while at the same time we seem to move further and further away from their significance, hardly even grasping what they’re actually supposed to embody.
Maybe, just maybe it would be wise to incorporate more of the semantics, feelings, emotions and Co. that bring back joy, energy and bliss into our everyday lives.
Pull Back the Curtains
Making the invisible visible is where the power lies. Having the guts to go beyond the superficial in order to uncover the deeper layers of human interaction is a must in today’s technologically flooded world.
The simulation can only hold one captive so long. Therefore, having an enlightened conversation with the person sitting next to you at the table requires serious work in terms of attention, presence and consciousness.
It’s totally up to you whether you decide to maximize on a certain interaction that ultimately enables you to connect on a deeper level with another human being. The best deals are closed when attention is at its highest level and energy flows unhampered. Relationships strengthen when mutual respect coexists.
Don’t let WiFi dominate your life. Give the human being you’re sitting with at the table your unconditional attention and be pleasantly surprised by the discoveries you’ll make.