Bernie Anderson
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the blog

Current musings, whatever they may be. 

The Three Realms of Interaction (and how to move to a healthy sweet spot)

There was a day when there were merely two possible realms of interaction for each of us.

1. Social (people)

2. Self

Those were uncomplicated days. A healthy psyche maintained a healthy balance of social interaction and self-reflection. Some people may need a little more of one than the other, depending on personality traits like introversion or extroversion.

But today we have a third realm of interaction. And this complicates everything.

3. Screens (Technology)

Before technology, the Venn diagram for healthy interaction was simple: find the right balance of social interaction and self-reflection.

Technology adds complexity.

We have to interact with technology. For most, it’s a part of work and daily life. For many, it’s a choice and a joy. For a few, it’s a burden and is avoided as much as possible. For everyone in 2019 — technology is a necessary part of our experience.

If we fail to interact with technology, it’s possible to become more than a trope of the Luddite. We have to maintain relevance and keep our jobs. There is a practical and healthy way we should interact with technology.

Solution: take an online course. Learn how to make movies or use GarageBand.

All technology and self-reflection with no real-life interaction with others makes one a brooder. Someone who turns inward and fails to have viable connections with the outside world.

Solution: Put down your phone and have coffee with a friend. Go for a hike with some folks from work — and don’t Instagram a thing.

Social interaction and technology with no self-reflection is also an unhealthy place to live. This is where I’m concerned so many land today. Superficial social chit-chat and banal texting and meme-sharing. Attempts at self-reflection end up being interaction with a device. This behavior produces shallow thinking and social anxiety.

Solution: Lock up your devices and grab a journal and a pen. Go for a walk. Get coffee with yourself. Go to the library and write.

If you find yourself anywhere but in the middle of this diagram, these solutions will feel uncomfortable. But that’s okay.

Discomfort is good when your comfort zone is unhealthy.