Technology and Discretion

Filed Under (Lifestyle, Social Networking) by Chris LaBelle on 12-01-2011 and tagged , , ,

I enjoyed Mark’s last post “The Art of Disconnecting” about moderating technology usage. The timing couldn’t have been better. I recently added a 3rd arrow to my quiver and have been enjoying watching my baby girl discover her fingers, cheeks, and anything else in reaching distance. During my initial time with her, I can only say that I’ve never been more unproductive as we spent hour after hour being in the moment and getting to know each other.

And so, Mark’s last post about the need to disconnect resonated with me deeply. I enjoyed watching Mark in my mind’s eye being broadsided  by some kind of elevated machinery as he was simultaneously struck by a thought: “That it is worthwhile to try to figure out the appropriate balance between being connected and being disconnected, that there is power and integrity in being able to personally manage the fine line between too much online life and too little.”  And so the machinery in my mind spun a bit as I thought about my colleague spending time with family, disconnecting, and being struck by some kind of swinging metal as he attempted to remove himself from the grid that is our new world.

Over the holiday period, I read several autobiographies. Tony Dungy is a man of great integrity who maintained balance and focus on family in the pursuit of excellence—while winning a super bowl as the coach of the Indianapolis Colts. I ventured over to Abraham Lincoln and dabbled in some Mother Theresa. Each one reminded me that life is a gift to be lived in the moment and that our values need to define the rhythm that is our identity and ultimately bring balance to how we use technology in both the workplace and at home.  Perhaps a little deep for a technology blog, but technology at its core is about life improvement and it’s important every now and then to step back, duck,  and see the trees and the forest.

While Mark found focus in William Power’s book, I kept thinking about wisdom literature I read often and the term “discretion.” Merriam-Webster offers the following definition:

The quality of having or showing discernment or good judgment.

In short, it describes one’s ability to exercise common sense without external pressure or influence. And so, perhaps the antidote to the hyper-connected zeitgeist of our time is “discretion”—knowing how and when to use technology without having someone define this for you. Although it is perhaps a term that has fallen out of our vernacular, the concept is more important now than ever as we upgrade our latest smartphones, leverage the latest productivity software, and plug in to the newest must-have authoring tools.

From my small corner of the world, I can only say that there are numerous activities that will always remain analog and organic—skiing on fresh powder, watching morning light bounce off nearby hills, and of course, holding a baby in one’s arms.

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3 Comments Already, Leave Yours Too

DE Eaton on 24 January, 2011 at 4:14 pm #

You say, in part, “During my initial time with her, I can only say that I’ve never been more unproductive as we spent hour after hour being in the moment and getting to know each other.” Not knowing you in the slightest, I can only say that you don’t know, at this time, how REALLY productive you were during the time spent being “unproductive.” (You will, in time, learn this as ‘all’ parents eventually do…lol)

Chris LaBelle on 29 January, 2011 at 9:25 am #

Indeed. I would have put some quotation marks around “unproductive” :). Thank you for the kind words.

Intuit Website Creator on 10 February, 2011 at 11:38 pm #

I enjoyed your post and would appreciate you for posting your experience which would be quite beneficial for others also.

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