Take back your power Amish style

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Do you feel in control of technology? Or is technology in control of you?

If you’ve ever had the experience where 5 minutes online turned into several hours, it’s probably a sign that you’re not in control.

And why should we bother to be more disciplined about our screen time?

Well for starters, e-obesity is on the rise. As Daniel Seiberg states in his book “The digital diet: The 4-step plan to break your tech addiction and regain balance in your life” –

“our increasing appetite for gadgets and the web has made us lazy and less active”

In fact, research studies show that technology contributes to a sedentary lifestyle and weight gain.

At some level, we all know that the chair and screen aren’t great for us. But nevertheless, here’s what we tend to do:

When you’re feeling bored you log onto Facebook, email or to play candy crush (whatever takes your fancy). And you keep checking back in to see if a friend has posted something interesting or keep playing the game like someone addicted to the pokies.

This sort of behaviour can leave you feeling frantic, frenzied and zombified.

So what’s the antidote to a screen sucked, zombified existence?

We need to reclaim our lives – Amish style.

That’s right. We can learn a thing or two from our Amish friends about how we can better use technology.

Here’s the thing – contrary to popular belief the Amish are not anti-technology. They still engage with technology but they are not mindless about it.

In the article “Amish Technology: Reinforcing Values and building Community” Jameson Wetmore sheds light on how the Amish perceive technology and their relationship with it.

So here’s what we can learn from the Amish -

The Amish live according to their values, one dominant value being caring for community.

They understand that technology is not value free and realise that it can take them further away from the things they value by impacting on social relationships. For this reason, the Amish carefully spend time examining new technology before adopting it.

Now I’m not saying you should abandon your iPad, Facebook and email and return to the days of handwriting letters to friends.

And there’s certainly no need to trade in your car for a horse and buggy. But the act of stopping to pause and reflect on how certain technologies impact on our lives is a smart move and one that perhaps more of us should consider adopting.

Daniel Sieberg ask us –

“Why don’t you delete or deactivate your Facebook or MySpace or Twitter account? What’s stopping you? How is it improving your life?”

He encourages us to walk away from these technologies for a time and suggests it can be an empowering experience.

But before you take the plunge, it may be a good idea to get a sense of the modern technologies you engage with and how long you spend on each. Notice how you feel before and after using each one. Does it leave you feeling irritable? Slightly annoyed? Frustrated?

After careful consideration, it may be time to press delete, unsubscribe or put the gadget away.

Try it and see. And just remember, this isn’t about being anti-technology. It’s about making technology work for you and optimizing the conditions for human fulfillment.

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One Response to Take back your power Amish style

  1. anra January 21, 2014 at 1:27 am #

    wow this is so cool. whenever i feel overwhelmed and stuck in this modern world i mentally go to pennsylvania and think about the simplicity of amish life.

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