Anthony Garand

Anthony Garand

Front-End Engineer @ Towbook

On Disconnecting

We live every day connected to the world around us, wherever we are. We spend our day working at our computers, and whenever we are away from that, we have our phones nearby. We feel this need to always be accessible. Whether that be by phone, email, instant messenger, skype, twitter, or any of the dozens of other services that alert us within seconds of when someone wants our attention. Why do we feel that need? Why do we always need to be reachable? These are questions that have been on my mind for the past few weeks. There is so much to be explored outside of our screens. Look around you, there's a whole world out there. We don't realize how much we miss by constantly being connected. I believe that this connectedness extremely limits our creativity and inspiration. Nature is beautiful. I'm awe-struck every time I have the opportunity to take a walk outside. I am constantly mesmerized by the sky. The thought that we are small beings spinning on a tiny ball surrounded by endless galaxies is overwhelming. And then to look back on the earth and admire everything that we, as a race, have created. Buildings, cities, governments. It's truly incredible.

In the last 100 years the world has evolved by leaps and bounds. We have automobiles, telephones, airplanes, and countless more. Things that affect us on a daily basis. Things that make the world we live in better. Things that were created not because the inventors wanted to get rich, but because they genuinely cared about this earth and wanted to create something that would impact our lives for centuries to come. These people had a burning passion. They had a talent, a talent they used to better the human race.

Today I believe our creativity is inhibited by a continuous stream of, arguably, useless information. I can spend an entire day without going outside at all. Wake up at 10, lay in bed catching up on twitter, pull out my computer, work/procrastinate on my computer until 6, and sit on the couch for the rest of the day watching tv. 100 years ago that would never happen unless you were extremely sick. Television is poison to creativity and inspiration. It is a completely mindless activity. I don't think I've ever had a moment of inspiration while sitting on the couch watching some crime show.

We always talk about how we get our best ideas in the shower. I was thinking about that the other day, while in the shower ironically. I realized that the reason we are so creative in the shower is because there is absolutely nothing there to distract us. After that realization I've tried to be more mindful of when ideas come to me. I would say almost every time it is when I am not "plugged in". It's when I'm taking a shower, driving in the car, taking a walk. Things that do not cater to being my distractions.

I recently started using Instagram again. When I started I would take a photo of something pretty such as the sky, a sunset, or something of that genre. I realized I would want to take a picture of almost everything I saw. This made me realize how much beauty I am missing out on by mindlessly consuming content. This was a hard realization for me because it made me think about all of the time that I've missed out on. How many beautiful days have I missed? How many sunsets? How many moments have we missed with our family because we just need to finish designing that one last element, or fix that one last bug.

It's raining here. I'm going to go outside and take a walk. There's a whole world out there. Don't miss it.