May 3, 2010

Wisdom 2.0: Living purposefully in a connected world

Soren Gordhamer

Beth KanterI am filled with gratitude to Soren Gordhamer for his vision of bringing together an amazing group of people who work in the area of mindfulness and technology for Wisdom 2.0, a three-day event in Mountain View, Calif., this past weekend aimed at addressing a compelling issue: “The question for most of us is not if we will use the technologies of our age, from cell phones to social media, the question is how can we do so with mindfulness, meaning and wisdom?”

Soren is the author of the book “Wisdom 2.0” and writes about mindfulness and technology use for the Huffington Post and on Mashable. If you want to explore the intersection of technology use and mindfulness, follow Soren’s work.

Technology stress and information overload have been around for decades. I’ve been looking for ways to reduce techno stress since I first started working in the nonprofit technology field in 1992. During training or coaching, I’d hear people complain about information overload, anxiety, etc. and started to incorporate techniques for reducing it.

The new framing for this familiar issue is one of balance. Being online or living a connected lifestyle is something many of us do – and as smart phones, Facebook, iPads and other technology tools become part of lives, we have to examine our relationship with them and find balance.

Here are my notes (and live tweets):

Managing the Stream: Living Consciously and Effectively in a Connected World

The first panel discussion was called “Managing the Stream: Living Consciously and Effectively in a Connected World” and featured Bradley Horowitz (VP, Google), Chris Sacca (Advisor Twitter), Greg Pass (CTO, Twitter) and Roshi Joan Halifax (Upaya Zen Center). The question was really how do you say yes to a connected yes and an inner life as well?

Don’t react all day to email

Chris Sacca made some good points about being proactive with your email, as opposed to reacting all day. “Your in-box is your publicly displayed to-do list. If the first thing you do when you get up is check your email: Don’t live that way.” He said that there are only 24 hours in a day and you have to make choices about your time. He did this by teaching himself to be selfish and not respond. He also talked about changing his brain chemistry. “Every time we see new email in our box, it produces a positive feeling. I had to reteach my body not to respond in this way.”

Chris offered this advice: “Don’t just pick the low hanging fruit in your in box. Think about how you can make a difference. Try ignoring your email.”

Bradley Horowitz from Google said, “You have to learn how to turn Gmail off and live in it, in my case I can turn all of email off.” What he was saying was that you have to integrate periods of time where you can step way from the computer and distraction and reconnect with yourself and the environment. Continue reading