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slipperyI enjoyed reading this BBC article, Why Idle Moments are Crucial For Creativity. One thing they mentioned was how our brains, constantly stimulated by technology, have no downtime, no time to wander. That wandering time is where we develop our big picture state of mind.

Seeing the big picture has to do with pulling ourselves back from the equation and perceiving things in a much larger context than the personal, and that is where things like creativity and innovation are born, awareness of cause and effect, long range consequences.

I really notice some harm, some changes going on within our culture. People are not pausing to think things through, life is becoming very personal, and we’re now offended by everything. It can even become somewhat paranoid, everything is all about you, all of the time.  Poor impulse control, short attention spans, and limited ability to even see the big picture anymore.

I watched this happen with our children, the older ones had more downtime, they actually got bored sometimes. Bored is okay, bored can be good, because then you go play in the creek or build a fort. Innovate, create, play. Our younger kids got more caught up in the helicopter parenting thing, lots of activities, little unstructured downtime and…lots of technology. Something was being lost there and I sensed it at the time, but had little power to even name it, let alone change it.

Culture impacts our kids, unless you’re going to try to live in a bubble. Culture also impacts adults and anything we do repetitively, like plugging into our phones, our social media, is actually retraining our brains, actually reconfiguring who we are as people.

Because everything is so personal these days, I must issue the standard disclaimer. I’m not trying to techie shame anyone.  I spend a great deal of time on the internet reading and interacting myself. I actually seldom carry a phone however, because I am wary of the urge to constantly check it, to build a dependence on it, to use it to avoid allowing my mind time to wander.