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Digital Pacifier

If you were your own parent, what would be your concern? What “rules” or “talks” would you have with yourself in order to become a better human? Being now a dad of two little boys, there isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not thinking about them. More specifically, there isn’t a day that passes when I’m not concerned about something happening to them. They mean everything to me. But seriously, think for a moment: What would be your own parental concern about yourself? For me, it would be how much time I spend on my phone. No More Boredom When it comes to technology, I’m a laggard. I didn’t have a social media app downloaded on my phone until late 2015. And after watching The Social Dilemma on Netflix last night with Karli, I realized that I haven’t really been bored since that moment. As sad as that sounds, there have been very few instances over the past five years where I have found myself bored. Before ever reaching the state of boredom, I open up Instagram, Gmail, Facebook, or the ESPN app on my phone. In many ways, it has become a digital pacifier for me. Boredom As I was driving to work early this morning, I remembered a lecture my dad gave my brother and me growing up about “losing the ability to think.” At the time, we were obsessed with watching Spongebob Squarepants on TV. My dad was concerned that we were always filling our quiet (bored) moments with Spongebob, and thus would become desensitized enough to lose the ability to think through problems. This thought then reminded me of a lecture from my Business Ethics professor at BYU almost a decade later. He was concerned about me (and my classmates) becoming desensitized — that we were losing the ability to think for ourselves. As part of a homework assignment, we had to watch this TED talk. That day was when I decided to no longer use my phone as an alarm clock. Personal Inventory My purpose in writing you every morning is to guide you to a healthier life. I want you to sleep, eat, move, think, and connect with others more often. But if you, like me, continuously block the quiet moments of our day by placing a digital pacifier in our brains… we may never reach the healthy life we seek. Take three minutes now to stare at something. I’m not kidding, do it. In fact, I’ll do it right now with you. I hope my writing is clear that I also have a problem with being bored. Just by doing this three-minute “boredom challenge”, I realize how hard it is to not get back on my computer or touch my phone. In many ways, these technology “tools” have become “taskmasters” on our brain. But boredom will make you and me more creative, more able to solve problems, and give us more time to connect with others — the leading indicator of health and happiness. Takeaway If you were your own parent, what would be your concern? What “rules” or “talks” would you have with yourself in order to become a better human? Get bored, my friends. Do it every day. That’s going to be my 2021 goal: Get bored at least once a day. Tyler

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