Gurbaksh Chahal | Taking a Break from the Wired World


Gurbaksh Chahal Career

June 17, 2014

Disconnect from the Wired World

Here’s something you’d probably not expect to hear from me: Do yourself a favor and disconnect from the wired world.

Yes, I’m an Internet entrepreneur. Yes, I’ve been a passionate serial entrepreneur since the age of 16 whose life has totally revolved around high tech connectivity. And yes, I have to admit that I often wake up in the middle of the night and fire off emails because I don’t want to lose an important thought or waste any time. Especially when business events are unfolding in another part of the world many time zones away.

But I’m also conscious of the fact that for a well-rounded life, for happiness, for completeness, it’s important to find time to tune out and, enjoy the simplicity of life. You’ll be surprised, that all was fine once your back.

Today we are connected in a mind-boggling variety of ways. We email. We text. We blog. We tweet. We post on Facebook and LinkedIn. Then there’s Pinterest—and all of the rest. We can be instantly in touch with anyone anywhere in the world. It’s a lifestyle that was unimaginable just a few years ago.

For some people it can be dangerously addictive. They walk down the street looking at their smartphone rather than looking where they’re going. They stop their car at traffic lights and check for messages or send texts while the light is turning to green or they don’t stop at all and engage in this behavior while speeding along the freeway. Recognize anyone?

Doesn’t anyone ever pause to think; to take time to seriously reflect on anything? What’s with this need to check and see if any of our family, friends or business associates felt the need to send us a message in the last 30 seconds…or for us to feel compelled to share with someone else the riveting details of what we just had for lunch? Do we really need to have our phones in our hands while we’re having dinner with friends and loved ones? Technology is awesome but in many ways it has destroyed the space between work and play. I know. I’ve been there.

So, yes, believe it or not, I’m making a case for a time-out. Sometimes in life you have to stand back and assess how you’re spending your time and if it’s healthy or not.

Now of course I’m not advocating that you throw away your smartphone or iPad or anything radical like that. I am suggesting, however, that we can find ways every day to take a break from the wired world.

Perhaps when you go for lunch with a friend you do leave your phone behind. Just for an hour focus on the person you’re with. Have a real conversation, not one interrupted by texts, emails or calls from others. At the same time it obviously helps if your lunch companion does the same—otherwise you’ll be frustrated by their inattentiveness!

At night do we really need to have our phones on the nightstand? Couldn’t we just try one night at a time to take a break? A good night’s sleep is incredibly important if we want to perform at our best the next day. Studies have actually shown that using electronic devices immediately prior to bedtime can disrupt your sleep.

Maybe, just maybe, do what I do. Pick one weekend out of the month and just entirely unplug from everything. Spend time with loved ones, or go on a trip somewhere you might not even be able to get a signal so temptation isn’t placed in your way. Besides, you’re much better off enjoying the wondrous world of life that surrounds you rather than staring at your smartphone.

Is this all hypocrisy from a self-confessed Internet devotee who has promoted the virtues of the connected world? Not at all. I’m simply saying there’s a time and place for everything. Taking a break from anything is refreshing and makes you appreciate it all the more when “normal service resumes.” So unplug and unwind and enjoy life. It will have an amazingly positive impact on your journey when you unplug.

As a wise person once said, “Life is too short. So, close your eyes. Clear your heart and let go.”