I am addicted to my cell phone. Iphone to be exact. I have lost the thing at least 10 times and each time I feel shaky until it is located....are you feeling me? I dropped it in the washing machine once, panicked and then drove to Verizon in a frenzy because it had to be replaced YESTERDAY. It goes with me everywhere, every day. It sleeps with me right next to my bed. It is the first thing I greet in the morning...and it is the last thing I touch before I go to sleep every night. My own monkeys have commented on this addiction, even though they are slowly catching up to me with their instagram, facebook and vine accounts, texting, and you tube viewings. This has been on my mind. A LOT.
I opened up a book "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell last night. I read this gem of a book 5 years ago, well before I ever even dreamt about owning a company and certainly before my addiction to my phone was well imbedded. I decided I was going to re-read it. I have applied many of his lessons to building up this company, all with great success so far. I knew though that there were probably things in there that I had forgotten. (You know that feeling, when the universe seems to "nudge" you to do something, but you don't exactly know why?)
And it didn't take long to figure out the "why" I needed to read this book at precisely this time. And it was all in the introduction, titled "The Roseto Mystery".
Roseto Valfortore lies one hundred miles southeast of Rome in the Apennine foothills of the Italian province of Foggia. In January of 1882, a group of eleven Rosetans-ten men and one boy- set sail for New York, and eventually settled in a town just 90 miles west of Bangor, Pennsylvania. The name Bangor was changed to Roseto, Pennsylvania. The city of Roseto is considered an "outlier" . An outlier is defined as something that is situated away from or classed differently from a main or related body. (Outliers, pg.3) The reason that the town was considered an "outlier" is due to the fact that in the town of Roseto, virtually no one under the age of 55 had died of heart attack or showed any signs of heart disease. There was no suicide, no alcoholism, no drug addiction, and very little crime. These people were dying of old age," according to sociologist John Bruhn. What made this town an "outlier"? According to Bruhn and a physician named Stewart Wolf the answer lies in the community itself. "They looked at how the Rosetans visited one another, stopping to chat in Italian on the street, or cooking for one another in their backyards." In transplanting the culture of the southern Italy town to the hills of Pennsylvania, the Rosetans had created a powerful social culture. (Outliers, pg.9).
After reading about this, I closed my book and realized something so significant. I thought of how many moments are missed when I am glued to my phone, how many personal conversations, visits, chats are missed. And, most importantly the very situations that I was avoiding, the sharing, the connecting with loved ones actually keep us healthy and strong according to this study. And there it was, the reason I picked up this book.
My mind traveled back to my weekend in Palm Desert. As I was leaving the hotel I walked past two couples in the lobby. Both couples appeared to be in their 70's. The first couple I saw, the man and woman were sitting side by side, eyes fixed on individual ipads(or just giant, Iphones...really). I thought to myself....how sad. The next couple I happened to walk past were enjoying a cup of coffee, smiling at one another, looking into eachother's eyes....connecting. Where have we gone as a society, me included? What's next? We are losing touch with one another when we are distracted by that darn technology.
So, what am I going to do with this information and wake-up call? Put the phone away. Let it go. Turn it off. Talk to my "tribe" when they are sitting across the table from me. They can leave a message. I can call them back. I don't want to re-read this book in another 5 years and say that I didn't get the lesson. It is time to make a change, today. I know it won't be easy. I am already rationalizing why I can't put it away. Geez, this won't be easy. Baby steps............
So, into the hipS-sister my phone will go...more often. Turned off. And then, I will truly be living my life hands free. What is that saying," when you know better, you do better?". It's time to do better. xoxo, Sonia
Outliers, The Story of Success Malcolm Gladwell. (I highly recommend this gem of a book)