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3 Ways to Stop Living Vicariously Through Technology

3 Ways to Stop Living Vicariously Through Technology


    Image courtesy of jonrawlinson on Flickr

    As technology continues to improve, it is becoming easier than ever for us to live vicariously through the creations of others. Living vicariously through technology is “watching instead of doing.” An example is getting home from work and deciding to watch television or Youtube videos instead of creating something of your own. It is stagnating during your free time instead of growing. This is a bad habit, but luckily there are some ways around it.

    The leisure industry counts on you being lazy and stagnating- that’s how they make their money:

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    The tremendous leisure industry that has arisen in the last few generations has been designed to help fill free time with enjoyable experiences. Nevertheless, instead of using our physical and mental resources to experience flow, most of us spend many hours each week watching celebrated athletes playing in enormous stadiums. Instead of making music, we listen to platinum records cut by millionaire musicians. Instead of making art, we admire paintings that brought in the highest bids at the latest auction. We do not run risks acting on our beliefs, but occupy hours each day watching actors who pretend to have adventures, engaged in mock-meaningful action.

    -Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow

    So you have two choices- you can either 1) continue stagnating, giving your money and free time to the leisure industry, or 2) use your free time to grow. If you chose option 2, here are three ways to get started.

    3 Ways to Stop Living Vicariously Through Technology

    1. Create your own damn content!

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    Everyone loves free content on the Internet. The reality is, only 1-2% of website visitors actually contribute content. For example, about 1-2% of Wikipedia visitors actually contribute to the site (according to Yochai Benkler’s The Wealth of Networks, as of 2005).

    You can change this, and grow along the way – if you have a valuable opinion, or are an expert on a subject, why not share it with others? You might be surprised how much feedback you start getting, how many interesting people you meet along the way, and how good it feels to contribute to a greater cause.

    Examples: Start a blog, create videos on Youtube, create an article at Wikipedia, create a new recipe for a meal.

    2. Don’t want to create? At least contribute.

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    If you don’t want to create your own content, you can still grow and help support online communities by contributing feedback, comments, and ratings to websites. Providing feedback to other’s content is critical to the continued success of social media. For example, I love getting comments on my blog- whether they are positive or negative, feedback is better than no feedback. It lets me know people are reading what I post, and helps me improve if someone mentions a critical piece of information missing in my post.

    Examples: Comment on a blog post, rate a Youtube video, edit a spelling error on a Wikipedia article.

    3. Stop using technology so much

    Get away from your computer/television/PDA. It’s healthy to create a daily ritual of “disconnecting” from your computer, and there are plenty of ways to grow without technology. Who knows- you might even get a workout along the way.

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    Examples: Play a sport, play an instrument, create art, create music, exercise, join an improvisation group.

    These are just a few examples, use your imagination to come up with more. The point is- don’t live vicariously through technology or you will stagnate. Use your free time to create and grow, and you will find yourself living a more meaningful life.

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    Last Updated on September 20, 2018

    How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

    How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

    Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

    If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

    1. Breathe

    The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

    • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
    • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
    • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

    Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

    2. Loosen up

    After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

    Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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    3. Chew slowly

    Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

    Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

    Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

    4. Let go

    Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

    The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

    It’s not. Promise.

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    Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

    Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

    21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

    5. Enjoy the journey

    Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

    Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

    6. Look at the big picture

    The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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    Will this matter to me…

    • Next week?
    • Next month?
    • Next year?
    • In 10 years?

    Hint: No, it won’t.

    I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

    Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

    7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

    You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

    Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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    8. Practice patience every day

    Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

    • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
    • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
    • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

    Final thoughts

    Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

    Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

    Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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