It was a silly question to ask a group of 300 high school students because the answer was obvious. With over 3 billion smartphone users worldwide, who doesn’t have one?
I was asked to give a presentation to these students on what it takes to build an inclusive world, and as I waited on stage to be introduced, I could see many of them trying to get one last text message sent.
The basis of what I told them about inclusion (naturally) centred on Ben’s achievements, which were a direct result of the inclusive community that supported him.
But since they didn’t know Ben, even though he was a graduate from the same high school, I was unsure what I could leave with them that would be relevant to their lives.
I opened with some background on our life with Ben, and the pain and struggles we constantly faced, especially in the early years.
I showed the film, “Including Me: Ben’s Story” (you can watch it here), which raised a few eyebrows.
And then I talked about the 3 practices they should start applying to begin to build an inclusive world.
Their disengaged, blank stares, were telling me loud and clear that my message just wasn’t connecting. It was just “blah, blah, blah”, like Charlie Brown's teacher (https://bit.ly/1dux1J3).
But when I asked how many of them had a smartphone, their body language changed.
I followed up with, “Ok, so how many of you check your phone as soon as you wake up?”
Most were reluctant to admit it but some hands were raised.
“Why do you do that? Why is checking your phone so important the instant you get out of bed?”, I asked.
The answer, of course, is because we’re all addicted to our screens. Some of us even suffer from the powerful draw of FOMO – fear of missing out!
I told them that if they check their inbox or news feed when they wake up, they’re immediately introducing stress into their lives.
They’re reacting to other people’s agendas and priorities. Not their own.
And doing this actually shortens their attention span, making their whole day less productive.
I asked another rhetorical question: “When you get up in the morning, you don’t rush to feed your body with junk. Right? So, why would you fill your mind with junk?”
That got them thinking because they started asking me questions.
You see, building an inclusive world is dependent on each of us.
It’s about starting your day with intention. Framing it for success. Not reaching for your phone.
It’s about feeding your mind with what’s important to you, and not reacting to the pressures and urgency the world continuously throws at you.
It’s about nurturing your spirit to open yourself up.
To make yourself available for more things like your contribution to building a world where everyone is accepted, valued and included.
Which is what a truly inclusive world is all about.
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Inclusion aside, beginning your day with intention is a great way to reduce stress and build your coping skills, especially if you’re facing a lifelong disability or serious health condition.
We have a free guide to help you with overcome your stress. You can get it here.
It's called "The 7 keys to Unlimited Hope".