I have a tendency to point out flaws. To skew towards the negative. Whether it be in how I judge myself or the world around me. Which may come as surprising given my unswerving belief in the beauty and potential in others and this planet. Yet, my mind will always make a “problems list” first.
Thankfully, something happened this week that reminded me to check my approach. To override my reflex to critique and choose a point of view that serves rather than burdens me.
I have the privilege of working with a young man who is deaf. We usually have our meeting in-person, but last week we connected over a phone call. Through virtual technology, he was able to sign to an online interpreter who then verbalized his messages to me. The interpreter matched his own expressions and tone of voice to the thoughts and feelings my friend was conveying through sign-language. It was amazing!!
Now, as I’ve said, I’m a critic. And I often critique the pitfalls of digital technology and social media. With our heads down, eyes glued to a screen, we miss out on opportunities for true togetherness. And while we have this incessant urge to plug into a highly connected digital world, so many of us yearn for connection and friendship in real life. To be seen and loved in real life.
But, I can also appreciate that the technology that often leads to loneliness and disconnect, is the same that allowed me to have a wonderful, enriching connection with my friend.
The only thing that changed in my valuation of technology was my perspective. Yet, I only had this opportunity to have a more positive experience with technology because of a forcing event – my friend required the assistance of a virtual interpreter. While I still warn against the downside of technology, I can choose to recognize the upside as well. I can choose to engage with it in a way that adds to my life, like a conversation with a dear friend.
This week, my goal for myself and my hope for us all is that we kick ourselves out of negative thinking. That we take a positive mental approach and search for the good, first. Even if it’s just for the next week, wake up and think of three positive things. Three positive traits you possess or maybe three positive things going on in the world. We may just realize there’s much more promise to be found in this way of thinking.
Community, Accountability, Unconditional Love.
-Asher Gottesman, CEO & Founder of Transcend Recovery Community