Living the moment vs capturing the moment‏

PunctuationI have come to the conclusion that there are two kinds of people in this world. People who live in the moment, and people who capture the moment. And unfortunately, one cannot be both; or one cannot be doing both at the same time. let me explain.

Anytime I am doing something I enjoy I like to devote 100% of my attention to it. Whether it is getting a deep tissue message, riding my bicycle, playing with my daughter, or sunning on the beach. I relish in feeling every sensation. I let all my senses take everything in and let my mind go blank to accept it. I like to live every moment. When I am in this euphoric state, I mostly can’t even think about taking a photo to capture the event. As a result I unfortunately do not have much of a photo album (memory archive). The few times I do think of capturing the moment with a photo (and act on it) I am bothered to do so. Why, because in doing so it does have a small cost. It costs a small piece of that joy. One can not be 100% in the moment, and still capture the moment. In my opinion, it drops about 50% when one stops to take a picture. Those of you who are “live in the moment” people know what I am talking about. For those of you who disagree, you must  be “capture the moment” people.

Now take my wife (please……old joke). Her mind is always a few steps ahead. Always planning, always scheming, always making sure we are prepared for every situation.

I recall some time ago treating her to a spa treatment. A full 4 hour package complete with Swedish massage, hot stone message, manicure, pedicure, scalp massage, and Champagne. After the day of pampering had concluded I picked her up from the Spa. In the car I asked her how it went. She told me briefly about what they did, and how wonderful it felt. After that she continued to go on for thirty minutes about all the things she considered and planned while she was getting the treatment. Everything from planning dinner for the week, to considering the destination for our next vacation. She thought about all of this while she was being pampered, and absolutely none of these things were of any urgent need to plan. I could not help but think, “wow, that was a waste.” With this, as with any experience in life, in order to enjoy it, you have to be there mentally. She didn’t get the full experience because she was not present mentally.

Don’t get me wrong, in many ways having this trait is a very positive thing. she is always on top of getting everything done. She always makes sure every moment is captured and documented. Without people like this, there would be no physical memory archive.

But it is a shame though. A shame that these people are depriving themselves of the fruits life has to offer.

I bring this up because of a recent observation I had. Recently a couple I am acquainted with went on a vacation to Cancun Mexico. Having been there myself I was immediately thrilled for them, so of course I wished them well. I was however mildly disgusted when I noticed that from the moment they landed to the hour they left, they were posting FB status updates every couple of hours or so.

OMG, lose the phone! Are people so hopelessly tethered to their social media that they can’t put the phone aside and enjoy their vacation unfettered. It’s as if the mentality is that the events of the vacation didn’t actually happen unless they are tagged and documented somewhere for all their friends to see. As if they need to prove they are having a good time, at the expense of actually having a good time. It was at this point that I came to the conclusion that there are “live the moment” people, and “capture the moment” people.

Social Media

Social MediaI hear a lot of tough talk about social media. “It’s not real.” “Facebook friends are not real friends.” “Why do we place so much value in the number of “likes” we get when they are meaningless?”

For starters, people are going to have to accept that this is now the new medium by which people socialize. Back in the early 20th century old men were complaining “They’ll never get me to use one of them crazy telephones. This method of communication is so impersonal. When I am talking to somebody I need to see them person in front of me. There is something lost in communication otherwise.” This is exactly what the social media nay-sayers  of today sound like. They sound like all the grumpy old men complaining about the invention of the telephone.

“It’s not real.” OK then. How do you define real? If real is something you can see, feel, taste, and smell, then real is just electrical signals interpreted by your brain. Images in a computer screen are just the same. So in the end “real” is very subjective.

Example: I recall not too long ago poorly judging an acquaintance of mine because he spends too much time playing video games. I was thinking: “Is this guy so dissatisfied with our reality that he had to escape into another one. How sad.” Ah but I soon learned that I was ignorant in this thought process. Many of these realities are so vast, interconnect people so well, and have such a huge following, that they themselves are subcultures in our own society; in our own reality. And if a person can thrive in such a reality (make a living), then what difference does it make what reality they are in? It also turns out that there is little that our physical reality can offer, that their virtual reality can not.

Video games, fantasy culture (Magic the Gathering, Yu-gi-oh, War Hammer, D&D, etc), and digital media may seem fake to many, but it is real to those involved in that culture.

A “reality” that is man-made instead of nature-made is not any less of a reality. Perception is reality.


“Facebook friends are not real friends.” depends on your definition of friend. Let’s just be honest, most of the people we say are our friends are really just acquaintances right. We just say “hi”, “how ya doing”, “what’s going on”, “how are your kids” in passing. This is no different from those on FB. Except you don’t have to actually ask how they are doing, you can see it clearly in their posts. Your acknowledgement is in your “like”. The reason this is such an issue for people, is that they apply value to the number of friends they have now that there is a set clear number.

Attention junkies are attention junkies whether they are using digital media or not. Whether they are surfing FB to track down and build their friend base, or they’re circling the lunch room at work having pedantic small talk with a new person every five minutes, it’s all the same. it just so happens they can do it quicker online. This is not a digital media problem, this is an insecurity problem.

A FB “like” is just a simple acknowledgement saying “I have seen, and I agree”. That’s all. Ah, but this is a lot. No different than if you were to give a speech right in the middle of the NY Subway, and see how many people stop to listen, and how many just move along; or how many heckle you. It is an indication of a potential following, it is not? The only problem is that these social media outlets lend themselves to placing too much value in these “likes.” So much so, that people will place so much of their self-value in these “likes”. But again this is not a digital media problem, this is an insecurity problem. This is no different than being the unpopular kid is school that gets sad and angry because everyone treats them like they were invisible. Self-value should come from within.

Issues like popularity, image, bullying, and self value are issues that have always been around. All we did was just move them to a new context; a new medium. It makes little sense to blame the medium. If one kid gets beat up in the cafeteria by another kid, it hardly makes sense to blame the cafeteria.

The power of positivity

I am amazed at how contagious positive emotion/positive energy is. How ones entire mental and physical state can be changed simply by the act of somebody greeting them in a positive manner. A mere kind word or two can make someones day. I see it all the time.

Recently I saw a very big example of it that you may find interesting. In a movie that came out not too long ago called “The Lego Movie,” the theme song to it was “Everything is Awesome.” The song itself was very blah. It was only intended to be a kids movie catchy tune. Certainly nothing that was remembrance worthy. And truthfully after a couple of minutes, its repetition got real annoying. But instead of fizzing out, the song blew up. It became so big that they had a long elaborate performance of it at the 2015 Oscars. “Why?” I kept asking myself. But the answer is simple: “Everything is Awesome” is an extremely positive statement, and people are just eating it right up. Just saying it makes you want to smile.

Come to think of it, I can’t think of a more positive statement. For the longest time I was going on the belief  that the most positive statement was: “Be excellent to each other, and party on dudes” (Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure), but “Everything is Awesome” is one that more people will get behind.

We all have the power of creating and spreading our positive energy, and it should not be underestimated. A kind word can save a person’s life; seriously. People want your positive energy, and they want to give it back to you. Help people if they need help, compliment people if they look down. Smile even if you have no reason to. Smile long enough and that positive energy will infect everyone around you and they will respond positively back to you, and then you will have a reason to smile.

Everything is Awesome

B Nice