Say what you will about Vanilla Ice, he had one thing right. We all need to hit the pause button. Well, he actually noted that we needed to “stop, collaborate, and listen“. Go figure. That is actually quite sound advice. Especially nowadays. We shall ignore the rest of his lyrics, though.
We are constantly on the go walking around with divided attention. We feel the need to immediately respond even if our thoughts are not fully formed or informed. I have been in meetings where data is being presented and yet half of the people attending the meeting are on their laptops. This is a prime example where people should just stop and listen. Yet, people just keep talking past each other. And, even so, people are just not fully present anymore.
I have found that a packed schedule doesn’t mean you are getting more done. It often means the opposite. If you are constantly being fed information you have no time to digest it. No time to fully process and understand what you are being told. As such, you can only take in topline or surface information. Deeper meaning doesn’t get routed to the correct parts of your brain’s processing centers. This all could explain what we are seeing throughout our society at this point in time.
Just this past week, a person I respect and find to be thoughtful and intelligent completely got wrong a news item story. At first I tried to gently correct them but they had not only jot processed the news item but they also wweren’t processing my gentle correction. They kept sharing with four other people incorrect facts. I gave up trying to fix it. And, whether people were actually paying attention to the story or to their incoming text messages, they were probably now going to share some further story distortion. It’s like that old team-building telephone game but worse. Way worse.
If we want people to truly process wgat we are saying we may need to write it out in neon lights with 200 or less characters. Meanwhile, we have to remember to set our own pause button. Get up. Walk around. Think. Become reaquainted with yourself and your thoughts. You may make a true friend.