A long, long time ago, people lived a hard life, using stone tools and surviving amid wild beasts who wanted to eat them. One day, no one knows which for sure, someone learned how to create and use fire. It was wonderful. It had myriad uses including cooking, sharpening spear points, warming the cave, defending against predators and gave a beautiful, glowing light.
During this time, there lived a caveman named Garzduke. He was a mighty hunter, a good friend and a leader as well. He was healthy, strong and liked to wear a deerskin hat with antlers atop his head. When his little band learned how to start and manipulate fire, Garzduke was at first curious, gazing at the fire while he passed in and out of the cave. Sometimes he’d playfully poke a stick into it and watch it burn. In a brief time, he grew enchanted by its dazzling light and finally utterly mesmerized by its heat and motion. He spent minutes, then hours, then whole days, staring into the fire in wonder. His fellow tribesmen grew frustrated at first and then concerned, when Garzduke no longer told stories, went hunting or helped at all around their encampment. He simply stared into the fire with his mouth agape, eyes glassy and barely moving for days at a time.
His band was fearful of the power the fire had over the once productive Garzduke. No matter how much they pleaded, cajoled or threatened, Garzduke refused to leave the brilliant embers that held so much power over him, refusing to even eat. He would sit close to the fire as if trying to relay a secret to it, while his shadow loomed distinct and dark on the wall of the cave. In a desperate effort, one of his friends tried to extinguish the tribal fire to break the hold it had over Garzduke. Instead, Garzduke tried to break his friend’s head with his giant club because he was so angry at the friend’s attempt to extinguish his obsession.
In a final desperate attempt to save their friend, the small tribe made a journey over the mountain to seek the help of a shaman. They left Garzduke behind, gazing into the fire with a vacant stare, face slack, as if in a trance. After two days, the band returned with the shaman in tow, excited about the chance to save their friend from the possessive hold the fire had on him. When they entered the cave, they saw the crackling fire lifting embers into the air before them but no Garzduke. One of the tribe raised a quivering arm and pointed to the cave wall. They were all aghast seeing a clear shadow of a man with antlers on his head burned onto the wall of the cave.
Like Garzduke and the fire, technology is a tool that can be extremely useful and do wonderful things. But especially when it comes to social media, it can also mesmerize us, turning into an all-consuming entity that can rob us of our focus, time and even our health, leaving anxiety, sleeplessness, headaches and “tech neck” in its wake (yes, that is a thing…look it up). If social media for you has gone from a pleasant way to connect to a full-time job, perhaps it’s time to establish a new relationship with technology. If we want to create clarity (and quality) in our lives and careers as we go forward, we must ask ourselves two important questions that only we can answer: Am I putting enough time into the things that matter? Am I putting too much time into the things that don’t?