What Has Become a Blur…
What Has Become a Blur to You Since Last We Status Updated?
Ralph Waldo Emerson was noted for greeting friends with the question, ‘What has become clear to you since we last met?’ His intent was a challenge to his friends to assess the progress of their thinking and their lives.
How do we answer Emerson’s question today? By what means do we stop to think about what we have learned since the last we met with a dear friend?
In the 21st Century digital age of virtual social networks, where a person can have a thousand plus friends, who update them by the moment, on car issues, virtual farming concerns, their toddlers latest bowel movements (complete with instant pictures), or the latest conversation they just overheard at the local coffee shop, I fear that we may not be able to as readily and significantly answer Emerson’s question in our own lives—simply because we have lost the ancient exercise of reflecting, pondering, and considering the more meaningful things in life.
We are addicted to instant updates! And it has become a little distracting. So, I pause to reflect, “What has become clear to me since last we status updated?”
In the course of writing this article, my iPhone buzzed with half a dozen different text messages, and my computer popped up six different InBox alerts regarding comments friends made on my Facebook page. With every ding, I was tempted to stop my current thought process regarding Emerson’s question and go read the latest comment on my wall, or eagerly open up my text message. Which is not necessarily a bad thing in and of itself, however, it has distracted me from really meditating on what I’m learning about life and work at this particular moment in time.
It’s not that these forms of communication are evil, or meaningless, however, they have not only significantly created an anxiety over keeping up with all of the information that daily flows into our stream of conscious, but it has more importantly blurred the clarity that comes from pausing during our day to know what is really becoming clear to us. In many ways social networks have brought us back in touch with old and new friends, which can be a good thing—just don’t allow it to get us out of touch with who we are today!
J. Diamond Arnold
Consulting Associate with The Ken Blanchard Companies
Co-author of Situational Self Leadership in Action