Riding the wave of digital disruption and staying focused in real life
Technology has transformed our lives in many ways, but it is often blamed for having a negative effect on the lives of people. But with clarity, adequate guidance, and the right approach, we can overcome the challenges we are facing with tech adoption.
The world is changing rapidly, and we need to keep up with the pace to stay relevant. We need to learn to interact with technology to keep ourselves updated and ready for the future, and to flourish in the digital age while staying true to our real life.
Every day, we are integrating ourselves more and more with technology and the digital world, which is incredible. However, what is essential is to understand what is virtual and what is real, and how we can merge both in a way that the former supplements the latter.
Youth today is hugely exposed to technology, which is impacting their day-to-day life and their future. They have to make many choices and decisions, they have to plan their future, face the pressures of this competitive society, and then there is this stress of dealing with their self-expectations along with family emotions, coupled with all the hormonal changes they experience. This not only makes them confused, but also very vulnerable, which makes it easy to manipulate their minds.
And, on the other hand, many organisations are developing the technologies where they are actively seeking ways to make us hooked and constantly engaged in their products/services without adding any real value or productivity.
Today, we are almost inseparable with the digital world because of one device. We look at it before going to the bed, and look at it as soon as we wake-up. It is the ‘Smartphone’. There are 5.11 billion people using mobile devices today, out of which 4.39 billion use the internet, and 3.26 billion people use social media on their mobiles. One smartphone technology opens its door to a plethora of digital experiences.
However, many parents feel the root cause of all the problems in their children's lives is the smartphone and the internet. But the intention of these inventions was to make us more empowered and productive. So where did we go wrong?
The big question: What is wrong with the millennials/youngsters or is there something wrong with the technology itself?
The answer is nothing is wrong with either of them. What is wrong is the way the youth are interacting with technology, without having any clarity and guidance.
The main problem is that youngsters have used technology mainly for the purpose of entertainment or virtual social interactions.
However, technology has much more potential than that. It can help us to enhance our creativity, communications, social collaborations, critical thinking, and much more. And youngsters who understand this are genuinely making a difference in their lives. What makes the difference for these youngsters is the guidance they have received from their elders, coaches, mentors, or via self-exploration of the internet itself.
Let us first try to understand the problems youngsters are facing because of tech exposure and their lack of clarity.
A) FOMO - Fear of Missing Out
The constant pressure of being omnipresent everywhere, on every platform, or trying out every new viral app or watching every viral video, the absence of which will mean losing out on an important thing of your life.
B) Imaginary problems
Feeling that everyone is watching you and judging you all the time
C) Emotional Disconnect
Feeling that no-one understands me and what I am going through due to the pressure
Every second, you have someone to compare your life with. Your friends and the so-called social celebrities/influencers. You constantly feel they are not doing good enough and the world is running at a pace they can’t catch-up with.
E) Behavioural Tech Addiction
Your subconscious is always thinking of smartphones, social media engagements, and video game simulations. This addiction is as dangerous as drug addiction.
The result of these issues - “We are consuming rubbish on the internet, becoming emotionless spectators, and just scroll our screens, digital stalkers, and social exhibitors of our perceived idealistic life.”
Digital advancements and social media can facilitate us in a lot of things like online learning and access to information, which helps us to gain more comprehensive knowledge. It can help us to build relationships and connect with people in real world. But in reality, youth is wasting a lot of time getting distracted, getting exposed to social and mental health problems, and are deviating from their personal development goals.
So, what is the solution? How do we embrace digital disruption by staying true to our real life?
Change in perspective
Instead of blaming the youth or the technological change, we need to be more aware of how we can use it for the better. We need to guide them - be it at home or at schools. We have to accept the fact that technology is not going back, but only forward. So, instead of fighting with it, we can figure out a way we can best deal with it.
Change in approach
Learn the art of learning: try to learn the healthy and balanced use of technology. Find your niche instead of being at every platform. Keep a schedule for your smartphone and social media use. Embrace the tech change with adapting its use in your existing approach of doing or learning. Careful adaptation without jumping into it in the flow is the key.
The concept of choice
The choice is never between the good and the bad. The choice is always between good and better / bad and worse. Start making better choices by breaking behavioural addiction. Install the apps which will help you, be on platforms which are productive, and watch videos to learn. Keep separate time for entertainment to refresh and rejuvenate.
The three-step process of adaptation - The learning approach: Observe | Introspect | Execute
Observe to learn
Think about how you can utilise social media channels for higher benefits. Can it be an asset for learning, or can it connect and engage with people from your field and area of interest. Try to observe whether the tech you are involved in is productive or you are procrastinating. Observe people and your surroundings, and gain more experiences. Careful observation makes you more knowledgeable and empowers you.
Think every day and every moment when you open social media sites such as Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp, or Facebook feed, instead of working on that goal you wanted to achieve, and observe how much time you have wasted. Remember your unaccomplished goals as the year flew by and you just spent it binge-watching Netflix/Prime or scrolling social media feeds. The lost time will not come back, and instead of feeling guilty, set yourself in motion and take control.
Introspect to get clarity
Inculcate the habit of critical thinking and strategic thinking. Critical thinking is having your own deductions after you learn from others on the internet or via books, while strategic thinking is a constant process of evaluating what you are doing is productive enough and is sticking with your objectives or goals or not.
We are so concerned with public opinion that we don’t listen to our wishes and needs. We should introspect on what we want and why? Sometimes, you need to disconnect to connect. Connect with your real world and yourself. Talk to your mentor, spend some time in self-analysis, and try to find out the answers/clarity on why you do what you do and how can you change it.
Stop comparing with others and judging others. Don’t try to be what you think people want you to be.
As Lord Krishna says in Gita: “It is better to strive in your own dharma than to try and succeed in the dharma of another”. You only gain when you focus on your own dharma or business. But competition and comparison in other’s business and life only breeds fear and insecurity.
Execute the knowledge and thoughts
Observation gives you knowledge and introspection gives you clarity. But if you don’t execute what you have learned and think about it, it is of no use. Go and execute your learning practically.
Try to create something and don’t just consume. We came to this world to create, not to consume. You can write a blog, build a website, learn something on online, join niche knowledge sharing platforms, create new designs, publish your article on any niche platform, publish a YouTube video, or record a podcast.
You will not get satisfaction by getting more likes on your pictures or by clearing one more level of that online game, or by buying an iPhone. You will be satisfied when you will use your full potential. You will get satisfaction by being useful to yourself and others.
Being digital doesn’t have to replace the conventional ways of doing things, and instead, we should look at how being digital can scale up things that we used to do traditionally. Understanding how you can respond to a technological change can transform your way of doing things. And despite all the negative aspects of the technological transformations shown in news or popular shows like Black Mirror, there are numerous opportunities it is bringing to your doorsteps.
And with clarity, adequate guidance, and the right approach, you can overcome the challenges you are facing in tech adoption. If channelised properly, you can take the direction that can have a positive impact on the society at large. But you have to seek that guidance and it can also come from self-exploration with the help of the internet.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)