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The Great Achiever and His Smartphone    

The Great Achiever and His Smartphone

What makes the great achievers of history so great? They have three tactics to credit for their amazing success, which anyone can also do…


How did the Rambam accomplish what he did in one lifetime? How did the holy Arizal and Rebbe Nachman of Breslev make such a monumental effect on subsequent generations without either of them having reached the age of forty?


Let's broaden the question: what makes the great achievers of history so great? They have three prime tactics to credit for their amazing success, which anyone who strives for maximum achievement can also do. They are:


1. Outstanding utilization of time – superb time management with no squandering of time.


2. Self-control, meaning control of one's bodily urges rather than submission to them – this is self-determination, the exact opposite of addiction


3. Goal orientation – total focus and effort channeled toward a predefined objective.


People often scoff at Rebbe Nachman's expression, "If you do what I do, you can be just like me." People don't believe that they are capable of being as brilliant and as righteous as a Rebbe Nachman of Breslev. Yet, if Rebbe Nachman said so, and we believe in his teachings, then it must be true.


Which brings us to the next question a person must ask him/herself: if Rebbe Nachman said that it's possible, then why am I not on his level, or at least on a higher level in fulfilling my aspirations than I am today?


The answer is that in whole or in part, we are not following the three tactics of success, as we learned above. Either something's wrong in our time management, self-control, goal orientation or all three.


The evil inclination doesn't want you to be a Rebbe Nachman or a Sarah Shnirer. In its cunningness, it weakens all three of your winning tactics in one fell swoop called smartphone addiction. Smartphone addiction hijacks your time, controls you rather than you controlling it, and totally kills goal-focus.


In their own words, the billionaires confess that that they want to rob you of your winning tactics, take away your free choice and reduce you to the state of an addict, dependent totally on the socially acceptable addiction that they want to pander. They are evil incarnate, because they take away your money, your time and your free choice.


In a NY Times article from 22.1.17, Jane Brody (no relation) writes, "The only difference between smartphone addiction and any other is that it’s socially accepted. But that doesn’t mean it’s not detrimental."


The fact that they're socially accepted makes smartphones and addicting apps legitimate investments. "We invest in things that are addictive," said Apple shareholder Ross Gerber, chief executive of Gerber Kawasaki Wealth and Investment Management. He also owns stock in coffee retailer Starbucks Corp, casino operator MGM Resorts International and alcohol maker Constellation Brands Inc. "Addictive things are very profitable," Gerber said.


Facebook’s former president, Sean Parker, remarked that the platform was designed to be addictive and to “consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible,” which he characterized as boosting our self-esteem, ever-present in the dopamine hit of likes.


Do you see how smartphones and social media are derailing you from your path to greatness?


That's not all. In an article from Der Spiegel on 27 July, 2016, Tristan Harris writes: "Smartphones and apps hijack our innate psychological biases and vulnerabilities… I learned about our minds' vulnerabilities when I was a magician. Magicians start by looking for blind spots, vulnerabilities and biases of people's minds, so they can influence what people do without them ever realizing it. Once you know how to push people's buttons, you can play them like a piano. And this is exactly what technology does to your mind. App designers play your psychological vulnerabilities in the race to grab your attention."


Whatsapp, Instagram, FB Messenger and the like bring smartphone owners to react like Pavlov's dogs. They lose control and become controlled. Not only do they forfeit any chance to be a great achiever, but they endanger their own lives and the lives of others when compulsively looking at their smartphones, both as drivers and as pedestrians.


If you think that your smartphone is not robbing you of your chance to be a great achiever, answer the following questions:


1. Do you check your WhatsApp every time you get an alert?


2. Is your smartphone the first thing you look at in the morning and/or last thing at night?


3. Do you get an adrenalin rush when you see that someone is ‘typing…’ you a message?


4. Do you get angry when someone doesn't reply or didn’t reply immediately despite being online?


5. When you go to a lecture or to a social event, do you spend most of the evening WhatsApping your friends about it?


6. Do you fully believe everything that comes via WhatsApp, etc.?


7. Do you have more fun with your friends on WhatsApp than you have in real life?


Even if you only answer one "yes" to the above questions, you've already missed your chance to be a great achiever. Two yesses are addictive tendencies and three or more indicate full-fledged smartphone addiction.


Hashem wants you to be great. Addiction and greatness don't go together. The first and biggest step to overcoming addiction is to stop the denial and acknowledge the problem. Once you do, that's already half the solution. The second half is to take your life back into your own hands by divorcing the smartphone. Wait and see how romance returns to your marriage and how much better a parent you become. Now you're set for greatness!



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