Author: Amy Blankson
In The Future of Happiness, Amy Blankson discusses the role technology plays in our lives. She describes how we can use technology to live with more purpose, rather than letting technology become a distraction from more meaningful and deliberate choices. In addition to sharing studies and statistics about the effect technology has on our brains and society, she details five practical strategies that can help us harness the power of technology without being overwhelmed by it.
Parts I liked best:
I read the book anticipating that the author would essentially describe ways to limit our use of technology. But she did not, or at least not in the way I was expecting. Rather, I was surprised to find she describes the healthy roles technology can play in increasing our ability to “strive after our potential,” or in other words, be happy. Here are her five strategies:
- Stay Grounded – How to Focus and Channel Your Energy with Intention
- Know Thyself – How Quantifying Yourself Helps Eliminate Limiting Beliefs on Your Potential
- Train Your Brain – How to Put Together the Building Blocks of a Smarter, Happier Mind
- Create a Habitat for Happiness – How to Build Greater Happiness into Our Homes, Workplaces, and Communities
- Innovate Consciously – How to Use Your Innate Power to Shape the Future of Technology and Happiness
I love that for each strategy she first details the potential pitfalls associated with it (she calls this “the challenge”), then gives practical advice for how to better harness the power of technology (she calls this “the strategy”). The strategies she gives are practical and easy to implement, but powerful enough to be life-changing.
For example, the first strategy is to “stay grounded.” She describes how easy it is to be distracted by the constant pings and flashes of our phones or computers. Emails, texts, calling, apps, notifications… there are seemingly unending ways for us to let ourselves become distracted. If you are anything like me, you are nodding your head in agreement! I have spoken to many mothers who, like me, feel they are too attached to their devices, almost addicted to the lure of those screens.
In each section, Blankson gives a list of “happy hacks” that move the discussion beyond theory into practical application. For the chapter Stay Grounded, some of the hacks were to turn off notifications and to limit your information feeds. I felt like each strategy contained enough information and practical insights into harnessing the power of technology that I wanted to focus on and implement each one independently before moving on to the next.
How this book made an impact in my life, especially as a mother:
This book is certainly not a book about motherhood, but the implications for us as women and mothers is obvious. I am definitely guilty of using technology in a way that is less deliberate and purposeful than would be ideal, and reading this book helped me to consider why that is the case.
I have chosen to try to implement several of her strategies, including taking intentional breaks from technology and creating a list of purposeful ways I want to use technology. In doing so, I am moving from using technology as a way to momentarily “check out,” and instead use it in ways that help me to be more present and connected with the people and things that matter most to me.
As I continue to improve in my use of technology and model those intentional behaviors to my children, I hope that this book will have continued and far-reaching benefits for me and for my family.
QUESTION: How does your use of technology impact your life and the lives of your children?
CHALLENGE: Identify one way that technology is impacting your life in a way that is less meaningful and deliberate than you wish. Then think of an alternative way you could use it to instead connect with the people and things that matter most to you.
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Edited by Aubrey Degn and Sarah Monson.