Simon Sinek, acclaimed TED speaker and author, has taught us to start with why. Come to think of it, Simon didn’t teach us that! Our 3 year old selves have taught us to question everything. Why is the sky blue? Why do I have a little brother? Why do we have boogers? As we grow older, we tend to lose this curiosity of wondering why we do things and instead, become followers. I never really understood why smartphones were so useful beyond Google Maps and searching anything instantaneously, but I got one anyway, being in tech and all. Then, I started to adopt the habits of smartphone users. “Well people bring their phones with them to meetings…I should too. It makes me look important or needed.”
But why really? Why do we need our phones? So many people experience anxiety when they realize they have forgotten their phones at home or have lost them for a mere two minutes. We have conditioned ourselves to be so hyper-reliant on a tool, that we are blinded by how it’s actually impacting our minds, health, and productivity. Ask five people why they feel they need their phones and you’ll probably hear responses like “to ensure my family is safe,” but who are we kidding? Sure, a handful of these times are actually to communicate our well-being, but that’s a tough sell when the “phone" app is the most underutilized app. What about all the other 142 times you pick up your phone in a day?
Smartphone apps, such as Facebook and Candy Crush, have been designed and engineered to keep you in the apps longer, using the same underlying addiction models built into slot machines. Our brains are constantly craving the next hit of finding that funny video or the euphoria experienced when the number of likes on your post increases. It's only human nature to crave it, but as you satisfy it more frequently, just like most addictions, it will require more to sustain the high.
I started realizing the relationship I had with my phone was competing with my husband when I noticed it was with me practically 24/7. In the car, in the bed, in meetings, in traffic, and like 75% of Americans, in the bathroom. In fact, I was heads down so much without any real repercussions, that it wasn't until I accidentally walked into a men's bathroom, said aloud to the man in there, "What are YOU doing here?!", that I knew it was time things had to change.
To live offline isn't to be permanently off-grid or even to police your usage. We at Live Offline are techies at heart and know a world without technology would be taking one step backwards. Live Offline, is however, a vow to be aware of our phone usage and ensure our lives are not puppeteered by our phones. It is to LIVE. To walk outside comfortably without a device in our pocket or hands. To ask a friend how their weekend was and learn the good and bad, and not just reflect on what was posted on social media. To spend time truly enjoying a meal with your loved ones without a beep or buzz interrupting.
Live Offline was born out of the urge to get ahead of this avalanche that will come crashing down some day, when the consequences of extreme phone usage become widespread. Its effects are nearly invisible at first glance, similar to the slow-forming effects of smoking, though we put no regulations on our usage. We are hungry to bring awareness, instill habit change, and bring our world closer together. That is what makes up my “why” to live offline and create this company. Two brave souls have joined me in this journey--my husband, Steven Siligato, and friend, Katie Ramp--who will soon share their stories with you. We have so much in store and hope you are just as excited to learn more about the WHYs and HOWs of living offline.
It's not a matter of IF you decide to live offline. The decision is WHEN you choose to. We are here to help make that transition back to the days where you owned your time, all while having fun doing so. Join us on this journey to a refreshed you.
May the offline world be with you,