This week I was in five different airports in three days and decided to do a bit of an experiment. Usually when I travel, my attention is either on: my blackberry, my laptop, my kindle, or trying to make it through security and then find overhead room with way too much carry-on luggage. I am in me-world: focused on myself, my to-do’s, my schedule, my stuff.
The experiment I engaged in was to check out of me-world for a while and check in to the world. I wondered what I would notice if put aside my electronic addictions and paid attention to the world around me. I consciously engaged in not only people watching, but listening as well. I loved observing how people interacted and responded to each other. Sure I may not have been as productive, but if I had stayed in me-world I would have missed out on witnessing two women toast their first girls-trip together with girlish enthusiasm, an elderly gentleman go out of his way to assist a young woman struggling upstairs with her luggage even though he was probably weaker than she was, a business man waiting for his wife at the airport holding a paper sign with a big heart probably hand drawn with a pink highlighter from his office, and a couple at dinner being thoroughly entertained and engaged in the stories their children were sharing.
And not did I people watch, I also set the intention to interact with people. This was harder than I thought it would be because everyone else seemed to be very invested in their own me-worlds. What I found in my experiment is that the people who were most available to interact with were of an older demographic. Everyone within 20 years of my age had some sort of me-world gadget seemingly wearing an invisible “do not disturb sign.” Now of course I cannot draw any huge conclusions from my little experiment but it did remind me of my on going concern that we are becoming more and more separated members of society who co-exist rather than an interactive community existing together.
What I learned from my experiment is how much of the world I miss out on seeing and being a part of when I am in me-world. So my invitation to you this week is to UPdate how you are when you are out and about in the world. Can you consider putting away your me-world devices and actually observe all the unique people and things around you? Can you step out of your me-world and step into the world you we all are a part of? What you may discover is that it’s a wonderful world full of beautiful people.
“A human being is part of a whole, called by us the ‘Universe’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated from the rest — a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” Albert Einstein
Christine Hassler supports individuals in discovering the answers to the questions: “Who Am I, What do I want, and How do I get it?” Christine grew up in Dallas, graduated cum laude from Northwestern University and received her Masters Degree in Psychology from the University of Santa Monica. She is now a Life Coach with a counseling emphasis specializing in relationships, career, finances, self-identity, personal and spiritual growth. Her expertise is centered on the twenty and early thirty something years of life. Christine has authored two books: Twenty-Something, Twenty-Everything: A Quarter-life Woman’s Guide to Balance and Direction and The Twenty-Something Manifesto. As a professional speaker, Christine leads seminars and workshops to audiences around the country. She has spoken to over 10,000 college students as well as to conferences and corporations about generational diversity. Christine has appeared as an expert on The Today Show, CNN, ABC, CBS, FOX, E!, Style and PBS, as well as various local television and radio shows, speaking about life issues and “Expectation Hangovers®” – a phenomenon she identified and trademarked.
Christine is the spokesperson for Zync from American Express and the key resource for their Quarterlife Program, which empowers young people to take control of their finances. She also created a life balance curriculum for the Leadership Institute and is a member of Northwestern University’s Council of 100. Beginning this fall, Christine will serve on the faculty of the University of Santa Monica.