August 09, 2010

The next time you're walking down the street, take a moment to realize how much of your day is spent looking down.  Then take a look around and observe this same behavior in the masses around you.

I realized this the other day when I was in a cab in San Francisco.  It was a beautiful, hot (which is rare) day in SF and I didn't notice it for a few minutes because I was too busy looking down.  I was engaged with the screen of my iPhone, checking email, checking Facebook, checking the digital status of my life -- and all the while, I was missing the moment. That's when I realized that the present was passing me by!

Upon realizing this phenomenon, I decided to get out of the cab and walk to my destination.  When I began to walk, I noticed at least half the people on the street were either looking down at their phones, looking at books while they walked, or simply looking down at the street in front of them. 

An epiphany washed over me as it became clear that we spend too much of our time looking down and not enough time looking up!  I know it sounds cheesy, but I think our outlook on life is heavily influenced by the fact that we spend so much time looking down and we miss out on the beauty that is the now.  By looking down that day, I was missing out on such much -- the beautiful sunshine and the interesting people walking by me on the street.

I've read all the studies that say multitasking has a negative effect on our ability to be focused and effective. Even more important, I think you need to enjoy where you are at this exact moment and take it all in.  When you're walking down the street, you should look up, or at the very least look forward.

If you're a marketer, you need to see the world for what it's worth.  If you're a salesperson, you need to see the people around you.  If you're a writer, you need to find inspiration in the world that's laid out in front of you.  If you're looking down, you can't possibly do any of that!

So this week I want to start a movement.  I want to encourage you to abandon the Cult Of Looking Down and join the Cult Of Looking Up! 

Start simply by putting your phone in your pocket and looking up when you walk down the street.  When you're in a cab, look out the window. Enjoy the day for what it is, and I bet you'll start being a little bit more "upbeat"!

And if you're really so inclined, check out the Facebook page for The Cult Of Looking Up!  There's no content, and no reason to be there other than to make a statement.  I launched it just to see how many people would agree they should be looking up once in a while.

And don't forget to tell other people around you that they need to look up.  Maybe, just maybe, a little movement like this will get people smiling a bit more during their day!

By Cory Treffiletti
Cory is president and managing partner for Catalyst SF.
Courtesy of Media Post.

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