It’s just too much

BUSINESS MATTERS (BEYOND THE BOTTOM LINE) - Francis J. Kong - The Philippine Star

Is the word moderation familiar to you? I suspect this word would quickly associate TV ads for beer, liquor, or hard drinks, or perhaps see the word every day in your commute through the billboards you see.

But I would insist that the word moderation is not exclusively associated with the products mentioned, it should be integrated with our way of life. In a technology driven world, moderation now becomes extremely difficult to practice.

Merriam Webster’s Dictionary defines the word as… “avoiding extremes of behavior or expression; observing reasonable limits… calm; temperate… tending toward the mean or average amount or dimension.

Cambridge Dictionary defines it very simply as: “The quality of doing something within reasonable limits.”

This becomes more challenging as technology continues to churn out products that would make us consciously or subconsciously deviate from moderation. Consider the following realities:

• Our smart phones are now appendages to our biological anatomy, and the amount of time we use it on a daily basis keeps on increasing.

• Online shopping delivers the stuff we want (perhaps not what we need) and conveniently delivers to our household and gives the buyer an artificial feeling of exhilaration akin to receiving a Christmas or birthday gift upon its arrival, totally forgetting that the item has been paid for by the recipient.

• Food can be ordered through apps and they are delivered to our homes.

• Social media…well…much has been said about keeping our eyes glued and can be accessed anytime and anywhere 24/7.

• Plans and bundles offered by phone companies, apps that offer free communication tools lead us to non-stop communications with friends from all over the world.

• Video games – and their almost addictive behavior to gaming has led the World Health Organization to include “gaming disorder,” which is another term for game addiction, in a draft of the International Classification of Diseases. The basis for this is that this disorder is qualified when a person continues to game despite negative consequences, the report says.

• And what about binge watching on “seasons” of series or movies which together with so many other things in life, is now available on demand?

Arianna Huffington is the founder of the Huffington Post and in an article she wrote she lamented how technology degrades the closeness between people in the same room. She cited how heavy social media usage has been linked to higher rates of depression, especially in the young. “Our ability to succeed in the technology-dominated workplace of the future depends, in no small measure, on our ability to—right now—take back control of our technology, and our lives,” she wrote.

I had the opportunity to speak with world-famous biographer Walter Isaacson who was authorized to do the biography of Steve Jobs, and to my surprise, he said, “Francis, Steve would go home and have dinner with his wife and kids, but he would not allow anyone among them to use iPads and other gadgets.”

This is consistent when Steve Jobs was interviewed in 2010 and was asked if his children liked the new iPad. Jobs famously replied: “We don’t allow the iPad in our home. We think it’s too dangerous for them.”

So what do we make of this? Perhaps you are now ranting. “All these technology and all these stuff, it’s just too much!” But chill! We need to learn how to deal with it.

I am not technophobic, I’m far from it. But I love technology. I have it. I use it. I have so much technology at home, I have multiple devices with screens and they are very good tools I use so therein lies the key, I use them and I do not allow them to use me.

The answer is moderation. But how do we achieve this?

After reading this column, do not go home to confiscate, prohibit, and punish your kids for using their devices, or plan to live in the mountains where there is no electricity and “signal” to begin with. Actually, you can hardly find mountains and places where there is no electricity and signals these days.

How to practice, apply, teach, and impart moderation will be our topic for tomorrow due to the limited space we have today.

Somebody says, “Smart phones can bring you closer to the person far away from you, but take you away from the one sitting right next to you!” And it is so true isn’t it? This topic will be continued tomorrow, so don’t miss it.

(Experience two inspiring days with Francis Kong learning leadership and life skills in his widely acclaimed Level Up Leadership on June 5-6 at Makati  Diamond Residences near Greenbelt 1. For further inquiries contact April at +63928-559-1798 or register online at www.levelupleadership.ph)




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