January first brought new year’s resolutions and healthy actions. At my son’s request, I reluctantly agreed to not use Instagram and Facebook for an entire month.
That exercise was helpful and stretching. But it was not the amazing revelation and breakthrough that some bloggers claim… words like “detox” are overstating the point a little, at least for me. I think my dependence on those apps may be less than for some people.
Positive aspects of the break:
- I gained many free small moments sprinkled throughout each day. I hadn’t used Instagram and Facebook enough before the break to read a whole novel in my new free time, like some bloggers.
- I learned how often I click on my phone’s Instagram app – very frequently!
- Feeling the pain of loss most intensely happened during that first week. Not having those two avenues available became less of an issue as the month passed.
- Rather than wishing friends a happy birthday via Facebook, I used Messenger, which provided a greater connection in a few cases.
- I discovered that I definitely use Instagram more than Facebook. I found myself wanting to click my phone’s Instagram icon much more often than the Facebook icon.
- I sent more emails and made more phone calls.
Negative aspects of the break:
- I missed out on a few friends’ life events.
- I had to look elsewhere for super quick bites of entertainment. I cheated and did keep using Twitter… so my frequency of tweets increased compared to December. However, I actively tried to limit my use of Twitter.
- I found myself looking forward to February.
Results of the exercise:
- I’ll pare back the number of accounts in my Instagram and Facebook feeds. That will improve the quality of my browsing moments.
- I will try to use Instagram and Facebook less. The very fact that quitting for a month was not a huge revelation shows that I wasn’t missing much.
- One month may not have been long enough. At the very end of the month, I was at a restaurant alone, waiting for my lunch, and I reflexively had the urge to launch Instagram. That feeling had not hit almost since the first week. But it was still very deeply ingrained.
Caveat: During January, I went on Instagram and Facebook a few times for professional reasons since my work requires those platforms.
You probably know that WeWork lost a ton of money through a failed IPO attempt and through the craziness of their former CEO Adam Neumann.
But the story that made even less sense was how SoftBank, its largest outside shareholder, kicked into high gear in supporting WeWork after the craziness started. As a result, SoftBank lost 4.6 billion dollars!
How does this apply to your business?
When all the signs point to a loss, stop investing!
- Drop your investment in a new technology that you hoped would benefit your team in amazing ways but really isn’t.
- Drop the time your team is spending on an initiative that shows little return.
- Drop your support of a partner who really isn’t delivering on their promise.
You’ll be glad in the long run, even though the pain – and cost – may be great in the short term.
I also published this article on LinkedIn.
Autumn hit Denver this year faster than ever. The temperature dropped 70 degrees in 12 hours. As a result, most leaves never had a chance to turn their usual bright colors. They went from green to brown and are falling swiftly to the ground.
Business often forces growth in the same way. If the acceleration of growth happens at the speed of a Ferrari, what could go wrong?
When quantity increases too fast, quality drops.
The end user’s needs often get lost in the push to get the product out the door.
So instead, slow down and experience the joys of life – both personally and in your business.
Caveat… businesses should be able to adapt to change quickly. An example is the music industry and its slow adjustment to the changes streaming brought to the marketplace.
The older we get, the more cynical and cauterized we can become about life’s experiences.
As we’re hurt, it’s easy to say, “I’ve experienced this before, so it shouldn’t hurt as much this time through.”
If you experience pain, it shows you’re alive.
I’m thankful to be alive.
Sometimes it’s better to fully experience our pain rather than avoiding it. The lessons we learn might stick longer. Our appreciation of life post-pain will be greater. And our ability to empathize with those who are in pain will increase – they know we understand.
Prada has a new pair of shoes – the Cloudbust Thunder.
They look like kids’ Power Rangers shoes. They appeal to… I’m not sure who.
And they are priced at $895, before taxes.
I’m sure they cost more to make than the Nikes people buy at Walmart. Prada designers are more highly-paid. Their nylon threads are sustainably-sourced. (Maybe not on that last one.)
It’s a luxury product from a luxury manufacturer. The outsized lug soles will not provide greater traction as the wearer navigates moonscapes. But the style will stand out in any crowd – at least to the shoegazers.
Interestingly, these shoes are in Prada’s “Must Haves” category.
Not for this shoegazer.
It was our last night visiting our son, Ben. He lives in a crowded, noisy, hot city in Sicily, Catania.
We decided to stay in an Airbnb together in the heart of downtown, to give him a break from his normal life.
Problem: there’s literally nowhere to park.
The main parking garage is blocked in by the outdoor market. You can only park there if you arrive before the market stalls are set up or after they are taken down – and the stalls are up for most waking hours.
We finally found a spot, after looking for 20 minutes. Ben stood in the opening so I could drive around the block to access the spot. But then my lack of directional sense meant I could not get back. (A maze of one-way streets conspired against me.)
Ben, who is totally used to living there, was almost as frustrated by the situation as I was.
The moral of the story is, how do I deal with frustration and disappointment?
In this case, things worked out, and afterward, our frustration eventually died down.
(Ben met me in a place I shared via a maps app and then navigated me back to the aforementioned slot, which quite miraculously was still open. )
But a better reaction would have been to just relax and not worry about how long it all was taking. After all, we were on vacation together!
I read murder mysteries on my Kindle some nights, just before drifting off to sleep.
I listen to murder mysteries via CDs that I check out from the library during my car commute.
My problem is that those two running plotlines sometimes blend.
And then, if I add in two or three nights’ sessions of an episode of Midsommer Mysteries on Acorn TV, it gets even worse.
Definitely a first-world problem.
Collage created from two Unsplash images by Yaroslav Кorshikov and Alejo Reinoso. Copyright and used under Creative Commons license.
My dad died 30 years ago this month.
I miss him.
A few weeks back, I dreamed I was traveling home from somewhere, and my dad picked me up. I told him how great it was to see him.
I don’t put much stock in dreams, but that was a great dream – and a nice thought to wake up with, circling around the corners of my consciousness.
I miss sharing my kids with him. He loved kids, and I know he would have loved mine (as well as the kids of my sisters – and the dogs of my brother).
I am sad he never got to know my wife. She met him very briefly as a brain tumor was taking over his life.
I’m sorry I never got his advice on some of the more adulting things I’ve traveled through over the last 30 years.
If your dad is alive today, give him a hug. Tell him how much you love him.
My dad was about the age I am today in this photograph.