The Tipping Point
and Why People Still Matter

Elias Amash
President
GRIP

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There comes a time in life when we all have to make a decision which we are not absolutely positive needs to be made. We wrestle with our thoughts of should we, or should we not? We analyze and scrutinize all facets of the impact of the decision we are about to make. The decision making is usually the hardest part of the entire process. We have all been at a crossroads at several times in our lives. Should we go to college? Should we take this job? Should we get married? Should we buy a house? Should we have children? I need not go on, because you know life-altering questions seem to come all too often. The questions change, but the process of making the decision remains. How does one know when the time is right to make a decision? The decision may be at the wrong time, for the wrong reasons, or worse yet have a ripple effect which might cause others to feel somewhat sorrowful. Technology as part of our new digital lifestyle Technology has changed our world significantly. Back in the day, we only received phone calls when we were at home. Now we are always reachable, as we take our phones with us everywhere. Smartphones are really just computers that we have with us at all times. We can check our e-mail, visit websites and even write and edit on the go. Indeed, today’s smartphones have more computing power than the best PCs of even five years ago, and even more computing power than the Orion spaceship that may someday bring astronauts to Mars.

While this can be a great benefit, it does have a downside. We can work from anywhere, which easily becomes working from everywhere. We often find it hard to unplug. We like the connectivity and the ability to reach and be reached by others. The problem lies in the fact that when we don’t unplug, we risk work encroaching on our leisure time. We may be pulling employees away from their friends and family when we email, text or call with a work question. This constant state of being ready to shift into work mode can be detrimental to our health and morale, because our personal, online inventory system is always available and being used. Literally, we could work all the time! It’s great to not be tied to a desk. Who doesn’t enjoy being able to work from a table outdoors or the local coffee shop from time to time? On the other hand, no one likes having their lunch or their family time interrupted by a work call. That’s why it’s important to establish boundaries. For instance, you could decide that anything that arises during your typical work hours will be addressed as it comes in; however, if a problem arises outside work hours you will wait until a convenient time to look into it.

This is not as easy as it sounds. We hear that ringtone or text alert and we automatically reach for our devices. “Notifications heighten our self-worth, are how we know someone is listening to us and caring about what we have to say,” according to Alexis LaFata of lifestyle blog Elite Daily. It’s all about dopamine, the chemical associated with reward and motivation response in the brain that emerges when we receive a notification from Facebook, Twitter, or other social or communications platform. In fact, there’s even an Internet Addiction Disorder. Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly receives 700-800 emails per day, according to a roundup story in Business Insider on the email habits of CEOs. In efforts to reduce unnecessary messages and distractions, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner advises, “if you want less email, send less email.” However, when these interactions take us out of the moment with our friends and family — or even distract us from truly significant business-related tasks during the day — it can be the start of larger problems. It’s hard to feel valued and important to someone who always seems to push pause with you so that they can look at their phone. This can certainly cause alienation, straining relationships and throwing priorities — both personal and professional — into disarray…

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