You never know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone, and you also never know how much you missed it until it’s back.
Those were my thoughts as I attended a conference live and in person this week.
(Yes, ‘actually in the same room with other human beings. Remember when we did that?!)
WOW, HOW I’VE MISSED THAT!
One of the speakers, a prominent economist, spoke about how today (due to what we’ve all just come out of), workers are much more productive. In those volatile two years, we’ve learned how to use tools like Zoom and Teams, among others.
That increase in productivity (as well as improvements in technology) hasn’t yet been fully realized. But once they are, that evolution will compound on itself, driving things further and further into positive manifestations — both economically and in other facets of our society.
Now, let’s think bigger. Take that same concept about the lessons from the last two years and apply them to interpersonal interactions. We’re back to engaging with people in person; listening to them live. In our most primal nature, we are animals that need connection, interaction, and other peoples’ energy on some level.
However, when that social belonging is interrupted, look at what it can do to us: mentally, socially, and even physically. We’ve seen the unfortunate evidence of that.
What I can say is this: robots are not going away. Mobile tech is not going anywhere. Technology like Zoom and Teams are NOT going anywhere (and will seem ridiculously outdated in a few years when we’re looking at holograms, not flat video screens).
But guess what? Neither are we. The human part of relationships cannot and will not be replaced. Ever. Full stop.
We can adapt and innovate when it comes to technology, but an investment in personal relationships still yields the best return — and always will.
For that reason, I’m proud of the fact that my kids (ages 8 and 7) do not need an iPad or phone at the dinner table. In fact, they barely ever get to use them at all. The result: they sit and talk with you and are engaging and involved (as annoying as that can be sometimes).
The same is true with adults. The more we isolate and allow that to overtake our reality (including during global pandemics), the more it will become normalized to a fault.
But we also have the power to prevent and even reverse that isolationism with simple daily choices. Say hello to someone. Be friendly. Ask them how their day was. Compliment them for no reason at all.
Granted, not everyone will respond the same way. That part has been most difficult for me.
But I’ve come to realize that their reaction is about THEM – not you. And you never know when your acts of kindness and compassion will help soothe their hurt or create a spark of positivity in someone’s life.
Help them realize that they’re not alone – and don’t have to be. That’s what it’s all about.
It’s so good to be coming back, maybe not to what we once knew as “normal,” but at least to the beautiful new place that is NOW.