Bored and Brilliant
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Bored and Brilliant

An Eye-Opening Experience

Bored and Brilliant
Ted Conference via CC BY-NC 2.0

My senior seminar class was recently asked to read a book called Bored and Brilliant by Manoush Zomorodi. Zomorodi hosts the popular podcast Note to Self and this book really stemmed from her challenging her listeners weekly to cut back on their use of technology.

As a class, we were supposed to finish this book on the last day of class. I read it in a week. It was that good.

First of all, I think Zomorodi does an excellent job on framing her challenges. Each chapter is filled with anecdotes, scientific experiments, and just general interesting facts about our obsession with our phones! Then at the end of each chapter, Zomorodi gives you a challenge, anything from downloading an app to track your phone use to not taking any pictures (yes, this means no SnapChat or Instagram).

Here's the thing though, I think most people would tell you that they don't think they are that addicted to their phones. This is probably a lie and through research, scientists have discovered that just having your phone on a the table while having a conversation is a distraction. Even face down phones will make you pay less attention to the person who is sitting organically in front of you!

These research backed findings were interesting because it had always been a pet peeve of mine. At the risk of sounding much older than a 22 year old, I hate when people leave their phones on the table or check them while we are having a conversation. I promise the internet will be waiting for you when we finish eating but in the mean time, please give the other person your full attention. They deserve it and frankly, you deserve it too.

So, I started to try Zomorodi's challenges and here's what I discovered: just being more aware of my own phone habits and the way it influences me was an eye-opening experience. I'm not saying I successfully completed all Zomorodi's challenges because I didn't. I struggled driving in complete silence. Music grounds me so that my mind doesn't wander too far to the point where I am distracted (I did however, start putting my phone in my bag and zipping it shut to make sure I didn't look at it when sitting at a traffic light). I even struggled deleting Instagram but I did turn off the push notifications to make sure I was only checking it when I wanted to.

After finishing the book and her challenges I found myself a lot less addicted to my phone. I was consciously aware of my phone habits. I was only picking it up when I wanted to not because I felt like I compulsively had to. Yes, technology has made our lives a lot easier but in many ways it's also made our live more difficult. Apps, games, and social media all are designed with addictive qualities to keep you hooked. But like Zomorodi says in her book, no one is telling you technology is evil, but being aware and mindful can go a long way.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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