Unplugged

Unplugged

Without having seen the Sistine Chapel one can form no appreciable idea of what one man is capable of achieving.” ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

unplugged

I challenge you to shut down every device around you that is connected to the internet. No phones, laptops, tablets, or talking tech from Amazon or Google shall beep, boop, or chirp. If the thought of doing this hasn’t made you throw this book across the room, see how long you can go without turning everything back on. If you made it past six-and-a-half minutes, congratulate yourself. A 2013 study commissioned by Nokia found that smartphone users check their phones at about that frequency. Even if a device did not signal an alert, a different Pew Center study says 67 percent of us will check anyway, just to see if we missed anything.

The point of this exercise isn’t to illustrate how addicted we are to digital devices. Being a hard-charging superstar, you feel like you can’t unplug because you’ll miss something work related. Give it up. Michelangelo periodically put his brush down when painting the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling. Laying on his back painting a tiny section of The Last Judgment, Michelangelo could not frame the scale and proportion of his efforts. The artist had to stop working, descend the scaffolding, and look up at his work to obtain perspective. You should do the same. 

I also have news for you. Whatever your career is, you’re not painting the Sistine Chapel. In six hundred years will anyone care about the work sitting on your desk right now or the report that was just emailed to you? Likely not. In six hundred years, some far-flung ancestor will benefit by you spending a little more time with your children. You can leave your children with a legacy of love and balance that will be passed down to future generations. If you don’t have children, make a positive impact in someone’s life. Just do something that makes your corner of the world a better place. Ask yourself, What’s my legacy?

You drive your success, but when your success drives you, there’s a perspective problem. Come of your scaffolding for a moment and examine what you’re working towards. If you don’t like the ceiling you’ve been painting, it’s time to readjust your plan.

Consider this …

1. Describe the long-term significance of where you spend the vast majority of your time.

2. Are you spending enough of your time on things that have lasting significance?

3. If not, identify two or three areas where you could have a major, lasting impact … and then pursue them!

For more, check out The Top Performer’s Field Guide, The Innovator’s Field Guide, or visit www.JeffStandridge.com.

(Originally published in The Top Performer’s Field Guide..)

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