Addicted by Dr. Robert Gerwig

Photo by Author

Smart phones. Have one? Love it? Of course you do! … Smart phones (or any “text capable” phone for that matter) have made life different. We’re more informed. We’re more well connected with our friends, co-workers, BFFs, etc. – our “professional” and “social” networks. We text. We call. We email. We surf. We skype. We google. … Sounds a lot like – “we came, we saw, we conquered.”

Many would argue that smart phones have not only made life “different” – they’ve made it “better.” I’m one of those people (well, mostly). Give up my phone? No way!!! While I don’t have thousands of apps (nor do I play games on it), I use my phone weekly. … In fact, I not only use it weekly, I also use it daily, hourly, minutely (?).

My phone keeps me connected to my business and social networks around the globe. I text, email, surf, google, skype, take pictures, listen to podcasts, etc. In fact, if there were only one business tool I could keep, it would be my phone. If there were only one personal tool, one social tool, I could keep, it would be my phone. … It’s small, capable, and “fun.” I can download thousands of apps (that are continually updated). I can listen to music. I can stay “connected.” In my family, everyone from the grandparents to the grandkids has smart phones and uses them for emailing, texting and skyping.

Can you hear the “but” coming????

Well, it’s not really a “but” – it’s more of an “and.” … Use (and love) your phone AND be careful. That’s it. Be careful.

A phone is like a knife. A knife that has been sharpened to a razor’s edge. Maybe you keep your kitchen knives this way. Maybe they’re only razor sharp when you first buy them. Either way, you’ve undoubtedly experienced a knife with a razor sharp edge.

I’ll never forget the time my oldest son bought his first knife. He carefully selected his knife after months of saving. Of course I’d given him the “lectures” about being careful, shown him how to properly handle a knife, etc. Before we got out of the parking lot after purchasing his knife, he had a cut on his finger and blood on my car seat! … Knives like many tools can be amazingly beneficial AND dangerous.

Your phone is like a knife. Used properly, it adds great value. Used improperly, it can be dangerous. If you become a phone addict, you can damage relationships. Ever had someone schedule time with you but continually interrupt the conversation to answer a call or respond to a text. Even if they “ignored” the call, you still had to listen to the buzzing, vibrating, beeping. Even if they “ignored” the call, you had to listen to the beeping indicating they had a voicemail. Even if they “ignored” the call, you still lost your train of thought.

Don’t be a phone addict. Use your phone properly. Know your audience. … Is it ok to text, call, and surf when you’re with friends or casual work colleagues? Probably (though it depends). What about during a first “date”? What about during “church”? What about in class?

Some executives don’t mind having phone addicts around them (but very few). While the executive might be a phone addict themself, my strong suggestion is to leave your phone (or turn it completely off; not even vibrate) if you’re in a meeting with a senior executive (someone senior to you in the “food chain”).

You may feel “naked” without your phone for an hour or two, but is it worth the risk? Is it worth offending the big boss? Your first date? The pastor? … Know your audience and use your phone appropriately. Don’t be a phone addict. Sometimes the best place for a knife with a razor sharp edge is in its sheath.

What is your smart phone story? Are you using it appropriately or is it controlling you? Are you a “smart” smart phone user or are you a smart phone “addict?”

As always, the floor is open to your comments, suggestions, thoughts, and feedback.

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