“The pause – that impressive silence, that eloquent silence, that geometrically progressive silence which often achieves a desired effect where no combination of words, howsoever felicitous, could accomplish it.”

Mark Twain wrote many things that will likely be remembered forever. For me, this observation takes the cake. I promise you this will not be the last writing I offer on the fundamental importance of intentionally choosing to pause as you interact with the world around you. Conversations, presentations, meetings, and each and every day we live on this earth all proceed more productively and healthfully when you consciously endeavor to insert pause into them.

Audit yourself; as events and demands seem to spin time faster and faster, where and when do you deliberately create a pause?

In my work, here’s what usually happens:

At the very moment we finish a conversation or workshop, most participants, in almost imperceptible speed, grab their phones and immerse themselves in reviewing whatever (if anything at all) transpired since they averted their glance from the screen. Literally, not 10, let alone 30 or 60 seconds, is devoted to consider what just may have been learned.

And look up – it’s literally happening in the sky. Are you one of those travelers who gathers yourself and your device as the plane lands, girded to execute that split second timing of screen dive just as the wheels touch the runway? I am way back in the line of people comparing these frantic screen grabs to the rushing to inhale nicotine. You think I’m exaggerating? I admit I used to until I read Cal Newport’s latest book, Digital Minimalism. It is sobering and, simultaneously, inspiring as he explores what we gain in our lives by choosing to exert control over devices rather than giving in to the downright frightening opposite.

Your homework:  Begin to pay attention to when you touch your phone. Professor Newport asks his readers to check if their phones are the first thing they touch in the morning and the last thing they touch at night. If that’s you and/or someone you care about, I point you back to Mr. Twain. I believe it’s a struggle well worth having to find pause when it has become so easy, and addictive, not to.

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