Email. Why? Who invented this thing?
When I lived in SF, I spent most of my time relating to people through machines - emailing, texting, social media-ing. It drove me crazy and left me feeling lonelier than ever. (Maybe you can relate. Maybe your digital life is driving YOU crazy, too.)
Now that I'm back home in Austin, I have made real life a priority. I limit my screen time. (For example, I write the first drafts of these posts in longhand.) I meet people in person whenever I can, even when emails would probably be a more efficient use of time. Who cares about being efficient? What are we, robots? No! We are monkeys. The more time we can spend with other monkeys, the happier we will be.
I'm reading Unsubscribe: How To Kill Email Anxiety, Avoid Distractions, And Get Real Work Done. Two thumbs up. It's a short book, but I'm reading it as slowly as I can so that I can grok her insights. It's great reading for anybody who is interested in the psychological forces at work in our lives, lurking just beneath the surface. For example:
"...people have...a natural negativity bias toward email. Goleman found that if the sender felt positive about an email, then the receiver usually felt just neutral. And if the sender felt neutral about the message, then the receiver typically felt negative about it. In other words, email really IS like kryptonite when it comes to expressing positive emotions: it's as if every message you send automatically gets downgraded a few positivity notches by the time someone else receives it."
If you too want to spend time with other people, check out Creative Mornings. It is "a breakfast lecture series for the creative community," and they have chapters worldwide. I bet there is one in your town. Austin meetings usually involve breakfast tacos, a bleary-eyed band, and a fun talk about an interesting topic. These are some of my favorite things.
In a few weeks, CM organizers from around the world will be gathering in Austin for some quality time together. I'm excited to announce that I'll be teaching a workshop at the summit. The topic: connection, and how to join your tribe. Your peeps are out there! There are seven billion people on this earth. Even if you are a special snowflake, guess what? There's lots of snow in the world! You are not alone. I read a great quote recently, and I am taking it to heart: "You deserve to find your people."
In November, I'll be in Montreal, teaching a masterclass in interactive storytelling. We'll be covering a lot of material, but the class is really just about one thing: empathy. I want to help the students see the world through their audience's eyes. What a gift they can give -- to help other people feel seen, and heard, and understood. We don't have enough of that in the world these days, especially this digital world - and that means we need it, more than ever.
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