Instant gratification……instant distress
In this era of instant communication, always available shopping and the never ending desire for instant gratification, we have lost several important arts when it comes to building a well rounded individual. One of the arts I think that we seeing rapidly fade, is the art of self reflection, which, as fate would have it costs time.
I got thinking about this after reading about the swath of post offices that will be closing in the US and UK over the next 12 months. These closures seem to re-enforce my belief. They are closing simply because there is not enough volume to sustain the infrastructure. The reason given is that most communication now goes electronically.
People used to send letters to one another. These have been replaced by emails, text messages, BBM and WhatsApp. Communication has become instant. How many times have I experienced someone sending me an email, they then call me to check if I have read it. They know that I receive my mail on my mobile device so why have I not responded directly?
This speed has led to a dramatic decrease in the thought process around communication. Communication has been relegated to a thoughtless act, harsh words I know, but look at the number of relationships that are damaged by misplaced text messages sent in instant fits of rage. In the past when you wrote a letter, it had to be thought through, it had to be worded well to ensure that the correct message was imparted. Now it is easy to damage a relationship and then instantly send a message saying sorry.
Writing a letter was one of the ways that you got to self reflect. Is this issue that I am feeling real? Do I share any of the responsibility around it? And many similar questions and insights could be tested. I would guess that many letters, in the past, were started and never finished because of the ability to reflect before sending. Today I think too many emails, text messages and the like are started and in fact finished. These cause a whole world of unnecessary pain for all concerned.
Let me leave the following with you: In the search for instant gratification and the banging of the me, myself and I drum, we are killing the art of self reflection. Take time over your communication, even if you can do it instantly. As my wife is teaching me, be intentional about what you do. Take time to reflect on your intended action and the desired outcomes, think about the recipient and what your impact will be on them. The rewards for taking these extra few minutes will far outweigh the time spent reflecting.