Connecting Is Making Us Lonelier Than Ever

This can be a lonely business. Be careful you don’t unwittingly add to your isolation.

Recently I’ve been talking with a number of advisors about isolation and loneliness. In doing research and finding out more about this, it’s alarming how much our culture is being impacted by this issue of loneliness, and a lot of it – in fact, the majority of it – is technology related.Obviously as advisors, we are surrounded by technology, and usually it’s helpful. That’s what we’ve got those systems for – the CRM systems, the trading systems, and what have you. They are necessities of our business, and it’s right to always be looking to upgrade and make sure we’ve got the best available set up for us.But, when we do unplug, when we do take some time out, we’ve got to disconnect. Most people are immediately disconnecting and grabbing their phone and dialing straight into more technology. Again, it’s taking its toll.An article in The Atlantic by Stephen Marche mentions this:“Within this world of instant and absolute communication, unbounded by limits of time or space, we suffer from unprecedented alienation… We live in an accelerating contradiction: the more connected we become, the lonelier we are. We were promised a global village; instead we inhabit the drab cul-de-sacs and endless freeways of a vast suburb of information.”This type of thing can creep up upon us. We’re so used to technology; it’s ubiquitous in everything we do. So, I want to encourage you to:
  • Take a personal tech audit. As advisors we do technology audits for our business, again analyzing exactly what we have and how to grow from there. But personally you need to do it as well; take a technology audit and notice how much time you’re spending dialing into technology and supposedly in your free time or your family time.
  • Learn to time-block this piece of your life. Don’t let that technology dictate to you exactly what and how you spend your time when you have the opportunity to rest, to recharge. Time-block – set a time where you know, “I’m going to dial into this – be it recreational stuff, be it even useful stuff to keep up with friends – but keep it under control.
  • Recognize you’re being influenced every time you hop on that phone to check Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit – whatever it might be, you’re being influenced. The question is, do you know who is influencing you at the other end? So, be discerning about that. Block out some time to manage it appropriately. Take stock of how much time you’re spending on it. Be very aware of who you are allowing to have influence into your life.Instead, socialize with people face to face. It’s going to take a little more effort. It’s going to take a little more time. But when we’re talking about real relationships instead of just “friends,” that’s the only way it’s going to happen. But, believe me, it’s totally worth the effort.