DMINLGP

DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Put More Energy Into What Makes You Happy, And Ruthlessly Strip Away The Things That Don’t.

Written by: on March 16, 2019

This review by Pete Adeney captures the idea the thrust of the book Digital minimalism. Many phrases have been used and are becoming popular in reference to what can only be equated to addiction to electronic gadgets, social media and the internet, including but not limited to: are we becoming a nation of zombies; modernity is a sickness; digital addiction; an epidemic of digital word; FAD: Facebook Addiction Disorder; and more. Newport refers this as the tyranny of the digital.This is a clear sign that addiction to the internet and social media and electronic gadgets is a big problem across the world today and is negatively affecting our society today. While the problem may be more pronounced in the developed countries where there’s easier accessibility to the electric gadgets and access to high speed internet, we too are grappling with the problem in developing countries. Its not any longer surprising to finds a nomadic herdsman clad in traditional clothing armed with a smart phone uploading pictures on his facebook account or twitting, at least that’s the case in Kenya.
This is by all means a big problem and Digital minimalism as Cal Newport is the philosophy of technology use that we need, to be more selective of optimized activities that support things that we value and happily miss out on everything else. He advances three principles to show that digital minimalism works: cluttering is costly; optimization is important; and intentionality is satisfying. We should be directed by our values and be intentional about using the amount of technology that will optimize the use of your time. Newport outlines some tips on how to achieve digital minimalism like turning off notifications, occasional rituals like observing a digital Sabbath which are complicated by demands of family, friends and work but we have to thoughtfully decide what tools to use, for what purposes and under the right conditions.
The encouraging thing is that Newport identifies groups of people that are practicing digital minimalism from the Amish farmers to harried parents to silicon programmers. These groups of people are rethinking their relationships to the social media to enjoy the offline world and reconnecting with their inner selves through having regular time of solitude. It is an issue of being in control of how you use technology and not allowing yourself to be overwhelmed. As a person who has so much responsibility because of my dual roles of pastoring and leading a corporate organization plus the doctoral program, it can be overwhelming with other social and family responsibilities. I must admit that I have had my struggles with technology and there so much to learn from Newport’s book. In my place of work, we have had to deal with time wastage during working hours and had to block the social media sites like Facebook, twitter, Youtube, and others to ensure that staff do not waste time. I feel obligated not only to safeguard the organization’s resources but also help staff members to overcome the tyranny of technology. A bigger challenge is among the children who have access to technology at a very early age and with so much inappropriate content on the internet. We have to be very keen to limit how much of technology is accessed by the children and train them to be digital minimalist at an early age.

About the Author

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Wallace Kamau

Wallace is a believer in Christ, Married to Mary Kamau (Founder and Executive Director of Missions of Hope International) and father to 3 Wonderful children, Imani Kamau (Graduate student at London School of Economics, UK), Victory Kamau (Undergraduate student at Portland state University, Oregon, USA) and David Kamau ( Grade student at Rosslyn Academy). Founder and Director, Missions of Hope International (www.mohiafrica.org), CPA, BAchelor of Commerce (Accounting) from University of Nairobi, Masters of Arts (Leadership) from Pan African Christian University.

3 responses to “Put More Energy Into What Makes You Happy, And Ruthlessly Strip Away The Things That Don’t.”

  1. mm Sean Dean says:

    Wallace, I agree that the big challenge is with the kids who are learning that these services are a requirement to “live”. Just yesterday my kids were interrogating me about when they’d get phones. My answer of 32 was indicative of how I feel about the risk these services provide for my kids. A striking thing about all these services is that they are, generally, voluntary so if we walk away they’ll need to change their ways or go away.

    Thanks for your post.

  2. Mario Hood says:

    Great thoughts here Wallace. I’m wondering how big of an impact technology already has on you and your world? Are you already seeing major effects or are you at a place to put safeguards up?

  3. Thank you Sean and Mario, Incidentally Nairobi was categorised by the fortune magazine as the most intelligent city in Africa in terms of its internet connectivity and communication infrastructure in 2016. Technology has had a significant impact in our country but probably not as the developed countries like the US. However, its important to remember that globalisation has meant that whatever happens in the US soon finds its way across the world and so we are also dealing with technology addictions especially among the youth and the young adults.

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