Have you ever seen a video of a Meerkat that stands up to scan its environment for danger? It shifts its head side to side, identifying moving objects as friend or foe. It has a constant responsibility to look after its own life, to meet the basic needs of survival.
Humans on the other hand have elevated their status to happily meet basic needs, most of the time. They have the ability to focus on personal pleasures and enhance their life in ways they desire such as physical appearance. But when I look at a person now, particularly millennial’s, I can’t help but see Meerkat’s all around and in me too.
If we are not scanning our devices, we are scanning our environment with a lifeless look. Our minds are conditioned in today’s world to search for more. Distraction has plagued our behaviour and I see individuals including myself struggle to know who we are, what we value and where we want to head in life. They call this syndrome digital dementia. Our mental capacity and power is offloaded to our devices. It is opening us up to vulnerabilities as we no longer give the gift of presence to life or others when communicating.
Short term stimulus such as video entertainment and social media drain our time. Instead we should be exploring, failing, socialising, reading and taking the time to unearth what journey we want our life to be. For it is decision-making that makes us who we are and where our power lies.
Viktor E. Frankl has a quote in his book Man’s Search for Meaning that says “We must realise the world is a joke. There is no justice, everything is random. Only when you realise this will you understand how silly it is to take yourself seriously. There is no grand purpose in the universe. It just is. There’s no particular meaning in what decision you make today about how to act”.
Contradictory to what I last said right? How I perceive this phrase is whether a decision has any particular meaning or not, it is the ability to make a decision that defines our meaning. In this decision-making process we can find happiness and complacency.
Social interaction is a basic need and it cannot be replaced by our devices as we see today. What this trade off is doing is making our minds restless. The brain, home to the mind, is no longer fit for a mind that seeks more. The perspective of others or materials, that devices offer us, is where the mind wishes to be. This increases the amount of time Meerkat state of mind can take control.
The present moment is losing its value as we undermine what it means to us. The outcome of being in a Meerkat state of mind is that it spins up hollow thoughts and questions, compounding us in confusion. Dreams and values become clouded, emotions worn out. The Meerkat state of mind puts all energy scanning for the elusive best moment we could be in and how to get there.
So it’s worth reminding yourself that the power in you, lies in your ability to be present and understanding of the decisions you face each day with total control to decide.
Who knew childhood animation hero Winnie the Pooh could sum up what I said so well:
“Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That’s the problem”