We live in a time where we’re constantly immersed in technology. There’s so much noise and distractions in our life, we sometimes struggle day to day. We just go to through the motions.
Studies show, technology is making us smarter, but if we don’t have some balance, if we don’t spend more time outdoors, it will have a negative effect on us. If you embrace technology, then you need to embrace the outdoors.
Your typical day immersed in technology probably looks a little something like this…
You wake up to the alarm you set on your smart phone. You roll out of bed not very motivated to go to work, maybe even dreading the day. But it’s what you have to do.
You meander over to your phone to hit the snooze button, unless of course you have your phone right next to your bed, then you just roll over. You just need another 10 minutes.
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The alarm goes off again but this time you definitely have to get up. You walk out to the kitchen to get the coffee going.
While the coffee’s brewing, you head to the bathroom, sit down and start checking your email. Maybe you don’t even get out of bed before checking it. You start deleting things you won’t read and spend a few minutes on social networks to see what you missed.
You get your coffee, turn on the news to see what’s happening in the world. The kids are up. You greet them and give them a hug. Do what you need to do to get them ready for school.
Then you’re off to work.
You’re sitting in traffic, people honking and the noise is unbearable. All the while you’re thinking about the weekend, where you want to go on your next vacation, because you just need a break.
The day’s finally over, but you still have to battle your way home.
Dinner’s ready, you grab your plate, inhale your food, then go plop down in front of the tv or get on the computer. A few hours to unwind from your day is what you need and then you’re off to bed.
But you can’t sleep, so you take out your phone or tablet and surf the web.
Only to do it all over again tomorrow.
This may not be your typical day, but I bet it’s very close to the typical day most of you have.
It’s who we have become as a society and a lifestyle most of you didn’t expect to have or even want. You aren’t fulfilled or doing work you love . You’re unsettled and just can’t seem to get break.
Techonology And Your Life
Technology has taken over our lives and will continue to do so.
I remember a time when we didn’t have as many gadgets as we do now. A time when we had to wait to make a call. A time when we wrote on paper and put thought into everything we did.
I also remember a time when the future was being created from the imagination of those making tv shows and movies like Star Trek.
We‘re there now. Maybe not living in space like they wrote about, at least not yet anyway, but we have technology in the palm of our hand. It’s in every room of our house. Everywhere we go, technology is there.
There’s no way for the average person get away from it if they wanted to.
I’m your advocate for the outdoors and breaking away from your electrical paradise. I know that unless you become a hermit and go off to live in the woods, it’s a part of your life.
Use it the best you can and make sure you use it to change the way you live your life for the better.
Use it to grow a business, stay connected and get whatever message you want to share, out to the world.
But don’t lose focus on creating some type of balance in your life.
As I study the topic around the Nature Effect and how it can have an impact in your life, I’m intrigued by all the information I find.
In the Nature Principle, there’s a chapter about the Hybrid Mind.
Richard Louv, the author of the book, says “There’s no denying the benefits of the Internet. But electronic immersion, without a force to balance it, creates the hole in the boat — draining your ability to pay attention, to think clearly, to be productive and creative. The best antidote for negative electronic information immersion will be an increase in the amount of natural information we receive. The more high tech we become, the more nature we need.”
In this chapter, he references a book called iBrain, which I immediately bought.
Techonology And Your Brain
The authors share how during this current time in history, our brains are evolving dramatically.
They reference how during the 20th century “the printing press, electricity, telephone, automobiles, and air travel were all major technological innovations that greatly affected our lifestyles and our brains.”
They go on to say “Medical discoveries have brought us advances that would have been considered science fiction just decades ago.”
The book references a study done on the impact technology has on brain activity.
Their hypothesis was to find out if computer searches and other online activities cause measurable and rapid alterations to brain neural circuitry, specifically in people without previous computer experience.
To test their hypothesis they found a group of people in their mid fifties and sixties who hadn’t been exposed to computers and a group of comparable age that were techno savvy.
The study was designed to find out how the simple task of finding information on Google would have an affect on their brain activity.
They looked at the brain activity of the computer savvy group and saw that they used a specific network in the left front part of their brain called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.
The people who had never used a computer before, showed minimal to no activity in this region.
After just five days on the internet, the group who had never been online before, were using the exact same network as those who had been online for a while. They had rewired their brain.
More study in this area might need to be done. But what they believe is that because we have all this information at our finger tips and we are using it to research and learn, it’s creating more intelligent people.
The human mind is an amazing thing, and to be able to find information quickly and enhance our lives through this growing sea of information is incredible.
But you have to guard yourself from electronic information immersion.
Technology And Distraction
In iBrain, the authors referance a software executive, Linda Stone. She says “being constantly plugged in to our high tech revolution as us living in a state of continual partial attention. “
She says our minds are “constantly staying busy – keeping tabs on everything while never truly focusing on anything.”
The authors go on to say “when paying partial continuous attention, people may place their brains in a heightened state of stress. They no longer have time to reflect, contemplate, or make thoughtful decisions. Instead, they exist in a sense of constant crisis – on alert for new contact or bit of exciting news or information at any moment. Once people get used to this state, they tend to thrive on the perpetual connectivity. It feeds there egos and sense of self-worth, and it becomes irresistible.”
Did they just describe you?
I like to say continual partial attention, in a nutshell, is the word distraction.
And what have I said about trying to eliminate distractions from our digital world?
Unplug And Head Outdoors
It excites me to know that I am not alone in my search to understand the power of nature. How it can have an impact in the world we live in today and the importance for us to get outside as much as we can.
Richard says in his book “The ultimate multitasking will be to live simultaneously in both the digital and the physical world, using computers to maximize our powers to process intellectual data and natural environments to ignite all of our senses and accelerate our ability to learn and to feel.”
He says “The future will belong to the nature smart — those individuals, families, businesses and political leaders who develop a deeper understanding of nature, and who balance the virtual with the real.”
I’m fascinated by this subject and really want to learn more about it. I’ve been on both extremes. Sharing the benefits I’ve learned from the outdoors and sharing the benefits of technology in my previous job.
As much as I believe that you should spend more time outdoors. I do understand technology is here to stay and it’s a part of your life
But don’t let everything go to waste. Don’t live your life with continual partial attention.
Get outdoors so you can fully come alive and be aware of the world around you.
Understand the power of technology in your life and how to use the outdoors to ignite all your senses to help make you nature smart.
How do you think technology has made you smarter?
Share your thoughts below, or send an email to brett(at)smoreoutdoor(dot)com