How Can You Change the World?
Do This One Little Thing
I know I am not alone when it comes to attending to several things at once. We all think we are multi-taking TASKING ninjas capable of making a meal, walking the dog, and performing light surgery on a loved one’s surface wound simultaneously.
As I toiled away, thinking myself successful in juggling all of my self-imposed tasks, I became less tolerant of what I perceived were extraneous demands on my time. My 13 year old was home and bored, wanting my attention. All. The. Time. My dog loves attention as much as my teen (wet nose on my face anyone?). My husband likes to spend time with me, too.
Who are these people (or animals), and why do they want so much from me?!
Of course, I actually like all of these people (and the dog), so I happily oblige their frequent requests for golf games, bike rides, “beer” pong, and long, sniff-laden walks (mostly the dog).
Unfortunately, in the joy of being with the ones I love, I have noticed myself sneaking peeks at my messages and emails more and more. Since writing a book entails a lot of email volleys, timeHYPHEN sensitive information, and feedback, I have been consumed with keeping up on the pile in my inbox. Like any habit, frequent phone-checking becomes a hard habit to break.
I know I just need to put the phone down and the computer away. That part is pretty easy because when devices are left at home or put away and I head to the golf course, there is no temptation. It’s great! Problem solved.
But one day, it struck me that just putting down my devices wasn’t enough. As a busy society, we are still used to being stimulated by several things at once. We are so wrapped up in getting to the next activity, doing tasks quickly and efficiently, and planning the future that we forget one little thing that changes everything – taking a moment for human connection through eye contact.
As I went through McDonalds drive-thru one day, I was fretting about getting home so work could be done while lecturing my child about the realities of early heart disease and childhood obesity due to fast food. It was a jolly experience – especially for my poor kid. (No wonder he likes it at grandmas’!)
Something hit me as I drove up to the pay window. The cashier was distracted by doing three things at once: asking for my payment, getting our drinks, and taking another order on her headset. I didn’t make it mean anything, except that we were all distracted. We don’t even take a minute for eye contact with people anymore!
When she handed me our drinks, I made a point to slow down and look her in the eye to say thank you. That act alone, the slowness and eye contact, seemed so powerful. I did it again when we went to the next window. I felt an experiment coming on!
I did the same thing with my son. When we were out golfing, we encountered a slow foursome in front of us which prompted downtime between our shots. He was inclined to fire up his new cell phone during the long waits, but I asked him if he would talk to me.
“About what?” he asked with little interest.
“Well, I bet there are lots of things you don’t know about me.” I said.
“I live with you. I already know everything,” he retorted. (Yes, I know, teenagers know everything!)
“Well, did you know that when I was six years old, I was on a show called Popcorn Playhouse with Eric Neville and won a game so I picked out a prize, a board game called Tiddlywinks?”
He laughed and acknowledged he didn’t know that.
Instead of phones, we looked at each other in the spaces between our golf game, and I encouraged him to ask questions so he could know more about me.
He’ll probably tell you it was torture.
But he now knows some silly things about me, like what our first video games were like (A computer called Vic 64? Anyone?) and that we didn’t have any mobile phones (the horror!).
Trust me, don’t just put down your phone or put away the computer.
Look at the person delivering your food, ringing up your groceries and standing in line with you. Notice the eyes. Be sincere.
That’s the way to change the world, because somewhere between television and Google, we’ve lost that natural instinct to connect.
And it’s pretty cool.
Like this chicken sandwich recipe inspired by my revolutionary drive-thru experience.
The Busy Buddha
Edited by: Sara Neyer
FIND RECIPE HERE!
Share something others may not know about you.