Is the 21st Century Man Smarter than the “Smart Phone”?

I emphasize in my book, The Man You Can Be For The 21st Century, the importance of challenging the culture you are immersed in. To challenge does not necessarily mean to rebel. Many young men deem it that way, but allow me to explain, as there is a vast difference between rebelling and evaluating (challenging) what is worth pursing and what isn’t. To challenge intelligently is to discriminate between your goals, attitudes, and beliefs that either serve you (help you) or cause a disservice (harm you) and in some cases worse, thereby tripping you up for a long time to come.

What I am about to present to you about your smart phones will definitely be challenging your current modus operandi. Pretty much since birth, phones and digital technology have been a crucial part of your daily existence. So, what I present before you will either cause you to “rebel” or “challenge” what is happening in today’s society of smart phone users. Let’s start with some statistics, before you throw this article into the “rebel” pile.

Potential consequences: Smart phones make you dumber. Yep, that’s right. Excessive use of smart phones weakens the mind, memory, and brain performance, thereby hindering so much of the other area’s you will need to perform in life. How? It makes you less efficient. According to Apple, most people use the ‘smart-phone” 80 times a day, which translates to 30,000 times in a year! Now start counting to 80. Look at your phone and count. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight…eighty!!!! Schew. Not even cognizant of it, are we? If you don’t get that, then tap your fingers on a desk 80 times. Not as much fun as texting, emailing, calling, texting, watching Netflix on your phone, but it sure makes a point.

A lengthy article in the Wall Street Journal, entitled “How Smart-Phones Hijack Our Minds”, cited several studies that erase doubts about the debilitating effects of the use of smart phones. While the entire article is relevant, it was the conclusion of the article that caught my attention. It stated: “As the brain grows dependent upon technology, the research suggests the intellect weakens. The evidence from the studies repeatedly affirms that using a smart-phone or even hearing one ring or vibrate produces a welter of distractions that make it harder to concentrate in a difficult problem or job.”

Two of the studies outlined in the article illustrate the point. I’m paraphrasing and condensing, so you get the message quicker. I’m worried you may be distracted by your phone.

520 under graduates at the University of San Diego were told to place their phone in front of them; others, to place their phones in their pockets or handbags; and others were told to leave their phone in a different room. The worst scores in ability to focus and solve an unfamiliar problem came from students who had their phones in front of them. The best scores came from the students who had left their phone in a different room. The handbag and pocket group scored in the middle.

Another study demonstrated that people who were instructed that the 40 statements told to them would be put in a computer as they typed them, recalled less, than the people who were told their typed statements would be erased after they typed them. This indicates to me that the computer was a crutch. It put part of their brain to sleep. Like the body, the brain muscles need exercise to grow. Something to consider, hmmm!! The mental laziness smart phones induce is scientific and very real.

I wonder if my 103 year old mother, who never forgets a date (she literally just called me to remind me about dinner this Monday), handles her finances superbly, and could navigate her life, even to this day, quite successfully whilst living independently would be able to live so well? Could her currently astute mental power have been systematically sapped by the current technological prosthesis that reduces the brains growth and use, had she had a smart phone? What a great example and besides, who wouldn’t mind living to 103, in good shape with excellent mental prowess.

You, the 21st Century Man have the advantage of being aware of the weakening effects of the ‘smart-phone”. You can begin to adjust and be judicious as to when, where, and how often to use it and other devices like it.

Just by using smart judgment about the smart phone puts the 21st century man ahead of his competitors, whose brains are becoming flabbier with each day of unskillful use. While I certainly understand the super hot girl is texting you a lot or your friends are constantly communicating with you via text and calls about the party on Saturday night, you will discriminate when to put the phone down, pay attention to what is in front of you and prioritize when to respond or call them back. If it’s only Monday, the party can wait, but your boss may get pissed.

You may think it’s “multi-tasking”, but in truth, it can’t happen as you see from the data above. Something will suffer.

My 21st Century Warriors, put the phone down and pay attention. Know what’s important and what isn’t and above all, live to be 103 without mush brain. BTW, if you want to track your phone time, download the APP “Screen Time Tracker”. Have you reached 80 thumps on your desk? Nah, you’ve paid attention and now you’re challenging the norm and confronting an issue.

Bravo for the 21st century man! He knows about the game in town and will spread the word of this article to his friends.