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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Would you be happier without Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram etc.?

Recently, a lady fell down in a drain while chatting on Whats-App. Kids are urging you to play with them, while you are getting irritated for not being able to read the latest joke that has been making waves in your Facebook group. Your friend has time to chat daily with her friend in the US, but no time to sit with her parents for 5 minutes face to face and tell them how the day went. Whom do we blame? Facebook? WhatsApp? Linkedin? Is running away from technology going to open the doors for your happiness?

Someone asked me this question over Quora, and I thought of going to a bigger forum for responding. This is a debate that has as many opinions as the number of people on this planet. Whatever be its drawbacks, it is is really difficult to stay away from such  a technological shift for a long enough time, unless you happen to be my elder brother Raj. Astonishingly, Raj is an IIT passout settled in US for more than 2 decades now, has worked for the best of IT companies there, and has never had any Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or WhatsApp account. I write this without his consent because I know, he does not have access blogs as well :)

Anyways, here is the point. One thing's for sure. Those who resist such a huge change will ultimately perish or will miss out on something beautiful around them. They also stand no chance of harnessing the positives this technology advancement has to offer. 

It is just like staying away from computers 35 years back, thinking that it will make us lazy or take away our jobs. If computers and internet were a revolution in those days, mobile and social media is definitely a revolution of similar proportion today, if not more. It has enough merits to go for it.
Now, there is another side to the story. Whether it is Facebook, Whatsapp, Twitter, or even the age old email, it does take away our most important and limited asset - our time. So, how do we strike a balance.

We must remember that these are all technologies, which inherently are neither good nor bad. These technologies are not designed to take you away from your loved ones or enable you to fall in a drain while walking. These technologies are dead elements - the usage of which is in our own hands. We must learn how to use them to add happiness content to our lives.

WhatsApp, Skype can be used to enable a mother to see his child or a grandson, separated by thousands of miles physically, after many years. Imagine the smile it can bring to her face. Today's gadgets can be used to send a surprise bouquet of flowers to your beloved while you attend urgent meetings at office. These technological shifts can help you strengthen the relationship that was losing sheen with time. You can choose the best doctor, get the best deals, save money and do tons of other useful activities, using the same technology using which someone fell in the drain. Children can get smarter at doing homework. They can explore more than ever, with virtually no limit to their inquisitiveness. We can get smarter as a human race - we can either increase our productivity and do more work in the same time - or do the same work in less time and have more time with our family and loved ones. The way we use this is in our hands - and there lies the true power.

Technology is like a kitchen knife - neither good nor bad. The knife can be used to kill someone or can also be used as a kitchen aid - It all depends on the intent of the person who is handling the object. It is the same with money. It is neither good nor bad. It depends on the person handling it. 

Exactly the same goes for technology, which, by itself, can not be termed as either good or bad. It provides you options. It is a shift, a change - which, as we know, is the only constant in the universe.

Making our lives better, peaceful and happy is in our hands - and removal of these technological tools may have no impact (or even negative impact depending on how you were using these tools) on our happiness content- till we change the way we think and act. 

So go on, get a grab on your Whatsapp window - but make sure that you do it to improve the quality of your life and those of the loved ones around you. Happiness content can be increased significantly by leveraging the technology in your own sweet way. Running away is not the answer. Understanding it, and then using it in the right way is the way to go !!

The book Happiness Unlimited shows you many such lessons to lead a happier, contended life.


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