Unplugging this Holiday + Stop Getting More Dumb


I recently broke out some of my old musings. While thumbing through these old journals and blogs, I had an extremely humbling thought – I was more intelligent back then. This is extremely discouraging. As a ‘rising professional’, I pride myself on: getting better at what I do, learning from my mistakes, gaining mastery over my domain, etc. I have always assumed this would mean that my intelligence, along with my ability to reason, would grow with my career or life advancement. However, this is very far from the truth. A case could even be made that as one narrows down on a trade/skill, they grow increasingly unaware of everything outside of that domain, thus they are “more dumb” in other areas of life.

“No duh,” you say, “Roy, why has it taken you so long to figure this out?” Once you specialize (which increases your value), get real responsibilities (family, career, mortgage, etc.), and toss in diminishing zeal (your age), and this is the net/net. Deal with it!

Screw that. I hate that.

And thus, here I am with this growing paranoia that I am becoming less as I become more…that I am going to end up as a crotchety old man that cannot carry on a conversation unless it’s related to sports, weather, or my profession. Simply said, that would be a horrible existence and one I will fight against.

So, why am I losing this fight?

I sincerely think that it’s because I am always ‘on.’ I am rarely (or ever) bored. My mind rarely wonders about the unknown. Instead, I just turn on the TV or break out my phone to check emails, watch Rockets highlights, or participate in some other mindless technological task (or worse, a game). Silence has become the loudest noise.

So this holiday season, I am looking to break the spell that technology has on me.

I resolve to not watch TV (including sports, news, etc.) if I have not read at least 60 minutes that day (online doesn’t count). 

I resolve to not bring my phone/tablet to meetings (or put it on the table or take it out of my pocket, etc.). 

I resolve to not hold my phone while engaging my: spouse, child, relatives and coworkers.

I resolve to turn off all my devices for X hours on Y day of the week.

I resolve to stop watching the news.

How about you? Am I on Mars, or am I making sense? If I am making sense…perhaps some of the above “I resolve” statements will help your pursuit for the good life. Consider sharing this with your friends, family, and co-workers so they have permission to call you out.

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