“I’ve become so numb, I can’t feel you there. Become so tired, so much more aware. By becoming this all I want to do. Is be more like me and be less like you.”
The Linkin Park song – Numb, rang in my ears. The state of becoming phoneless scares me. Have you ever felt the same, not knowing what to do without your phone? Numb. Feeling lifeless. Feeling anxious. No more swiping up and down. No more getting the latest updates in life (As if…). No more liking or double tapping here and there. Everything felt dark and being sucked into a black hole. I was taken aback how dependent I was with this tiny gadget when my phone decided to take a nap, forever. Being phoneless felt like a part of me – was gone. Sounds like a phone addict aren’t I? Long story short, my phone was damaged where the screen went black and poof, I am then phoneless.
Relating my case to phone addiction, Nomophobia – a new term was developed for people that fear if their mobile phone is not working or unable to use it for certain reasons. Realise it or not, we have all become truly dependent on mobile phones. This tiny little gadget has enabled us to do so many things like accessing to the internet for online banking, search for information, check our calendars, connecting with others via social media and also play games. It has replaced the purpose of the camera, alarm clocks and a planner. Apart from that, the use of mobile phones is able to release the chemical called dopamine which makes us feels good. That is why whenever we get a notification or a text, we feel good. So we tend to go back to our postings to see the likes and see if gets the approval of our peers.
Sadly, despite the unending innovation in mobile phones, it has inevitably made us, less human. Our communication level with people, friends and families deteriorates. We would rather ignore the person we are with and text someone else. Our work productivity also decreases where an hour amount of work may lengthen to three or four hours just by our constant phone checking. We also developed ourselves to become a couch potato by putting off our exercise. We are put asleep with fancy applications like Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter etc. We look for false and deceptive approval from this medium. Indirectly, the materialism is drifting us apart from getting close to Allah. Let’s ponder a few of this questions to know how mobile phones/technology has actually influenced our lives.
What do you normally do when you wake up? Check your phones?
When was the last time you felt the connection with Allah in your prayers?
When was the last time you truly appreciate Mother Nature without posting all your journey using your social media?
When was the last time you really had a real conversation with people?
Do remember the time when you sincerely prayed to Allah and not on social media?
How often do you check your phone?
Are we concerned about how many followers we have on social media?
We must all wake up from this illusion. Review the time we wasted on mobile phones. We have more important matters to do. We have so much more to learn. Discovering ourselves, learning the seerah of our prophets and see what we can contribute to the world. We need to detox ourselves from the connection of mobile phones. When we have so much strength to develop, won’t it be a total waste just by playing with your phone? We need to rethink the relationship we made with our mobile phones. We must revive our love for Allah and His messengers. Just like when we were kids, we were always inquisitive and carefree. As kids, we always wanted to see the world and try the impossible. Let’s get back on track, dear friends. We need to be present. Resisting mobile phones which is part of the entertainment, you can definitely fly higher and go beyond your current capabilities.
Cal Newport wrote in his book “Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World” supports the idea of increasing productivity, getting the results we desire by avoiding the technology. He said that:
“If you want to eliminate the addictive pull of entertainment sites on your time and attention, give your brain a quality alternative. Not only will this preserve your ability to resist distraction and concentrate. But you might experience, perhaps for the first time, what it means to live, and not just exist.”
It is interesting to know that, we have to follow four simple rules: (1) Work deeply; (2) Embrace boredom; (3) Quit social media; and (4) Drain the Shallows. Designing how you would spend your day will enable you to work deeply and focus to achieve a respective goal. Know the process to support your work. Work progressively to eliminate boredom by practising meditation to enhance your attention mentally towards your work. Rewire our brain to be at ease with declining any distraction. The author also encouraged that we can try to stop using the social media for 30 days and see what happens. Do not uninstall all the applications explicitly and announce it to the world. Train ourselves that access to the internet is not the only entertainment we have. Lastly, know that it takes time to engage a productive life.
Besides these suggestions, in order to put us back on track in remembering Allah, I would suggest that we surround ourselves with daily dzikr, selawat and prayers. Enrich yourself with Islamic knowledge, contemporary issues and national stories. Meet like-minded people to nurture your passion and interest. Know that you should NOT be a slave to the technology but use it as a tool to be a better Muslim. Consolidate your heart to be accustomed to what is right and forsake pleasures. After all, life is short. We must work to obtain the beautiful Garden of Paradise and avoid the painful Fire of Grieve.
This phone tragedy has made me reflect on myself a lot. Suddenly I can do so many things without the phone. Although I was stunned for a while on what to do, I actually started doing things. I became more aware of my surrounding. I became more attentive to people. I focused more. I started reading again after a long hiatus. It became a silver lining eventually. Having a mobile phone could become an advantage to you or an adversity. We choose. I end this article with a poem. Cheers!
Makes you lifeless,
Also in stress,
Though, never distress,
You may progress,
Rewire, resist, reconnect, reprocess,
Work slowly but with express,
To get His blessings.