If you ever catch yourself sucked into the sticky quagmire of social media, frantically scrolling, liking, sharing and posting, then fear not because help is at hand. Cal Newport’s book, Digital Minimalism, will warn you of the dangers of social media and instruct you on how to take action against them.
The book is so persuasive that by the end of it, you’ll understand why digital minimalism make sense. I reckon it should be required reading for everyone, barring perhaps the Amish folk who shun technology as a whole anyway.
What Is Digital Minimalism
Essentially, minimalism is making more selective choices and behaving in a purposeful and meaningful way.
Digital minimalism works the same way. In his book, Cal Newport defines digital minimalism as, A philosophy of technology use in which you focus your online time on a small number of carefully selected and optimized activities that strongly support things you value, and then happily miss out on everything else.
The common misconception about minimalism is that it means having or doing fewer things. This cannot be further from the truth. Minimalism is about rejecting the non-important things so that you have more time for the things that truly matter.
Who Should Read Digital Minimalism
The book is, unsurprisingly, for people who spend too much time online. At first, using social media may seem harmless, but reading Digital Minimalism will help to expose the negative effects lurking in the shadows. Ostensibly, the problem lies in lacking a clear intention when being online.
The world is constantly evolving and technology is getting more advanced by the second. With this in mind, Digital Minimalism will prove to you that too much dependence on technology is not a practical solution for long term happiness. My favourite quote on this subject is this:
Humans are not wired to be constantly wired.
The Big Take-Away
The book gives you a myriad ideas on how you can start your journey to a more meaningful life through digital minimalism and why you should consider going down this path.
It also provides reasons why spending too much time online is not beneficial. As Cal states, social media can increase a sense of isolation, loneliness and inadequacy. It also fragments your attention making it harder to concentrate on important tasks.
More importantly, Cal gives clear, easy-to-follow tips on how you can practice digital minimalism for yourself. In addition to this, you will also learn how to avoid a few traps that will almost inevitably lead to a digital media spree.
For me, the first step was deleting Facebook and Instagram off my phone. Cal also suggests taking a break for a month and seeing how that makes your feel. Once you’ve achieved this, observe if anyone on Facebook actually noticed your absence. You’ll be surprised at how little impact your digital presence makes.
If you follow Cal’s advice and adopt his principles, a life of unalloyed happiness, real connections, more productivity, improved focus, a clearer perception of the world and a richer, fuller life awaits. It’s time to start experiencing the world through your own eyes and not through a screen.
We have to understand that technology was made to serve humans, not the other way around. We should not be consumed by it, but instead, use it meaningfully and to our advantage.
There is a very fine line between us using technology, and technology using us. Digital minimalism is typically overlooked, but in this all-immersing technological age we must be vigilant in setting our own boundaries.
Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport is a modern-day classic and its principles will be even more relevant and useful in the coming years because of the increasing human craving for social media engagement. If you feel like you’re hurtling down the social media rabbit-hole, then pick up a copy. It’ll soon convince you why digital minimalism makes sense and that doing things with a purpose far outweigh the doing of things without one.
Watch Cal Newport’s TED talk, Quit Social Media, above.
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