Quitting the internet…
Is this something that sounds fascinating to you? Do you read articles every single day about how the internet is making us all dumber?
Can you imagine what Theodore Roosevelt would say if someone complained to him that they can’t write a book / get in shape / have a meaningful relationship because of the internet?
He would probably kindly invite you into the boxing ring with him so he can knock the inner sissy out of you.
We see it all over the internet: People blaming the internet for all of their problems.
They blame the internet for not having meaningful relationships.
They blame the internet for not having the time to exercise.
They blame the internet for not being productive.
They blame the internet for not being successful.
And worst of all, they blame the internet for not being happy.
Paul Miller was one of these men. He thought quitting the internet would solve a lot of his problems. He felt what we all feel at times: completely overwhelmed by the amount of information coming into our lives.
So, he quit the internet for a year.
You’d think this would be awesome, right?
Well… It was for about a few months. He wrote a lot, he hung out with his friends in person, he was able to really enjoy life. Then reality hit in. He realized he actually felt more lonely and disconnected than ever. He realized that his problems had nothing to do with the internet, and they were more internal than that. When asked what he wanted to do once he was back online he said he “wanted to do things for other people.”
He came to the same conclusions that I try to demonstrate on this site:
1. Success in life is a lot more about what you are internally than external factors.
2. Life is less about ourselves and more about how we can help other people.
The internet does a beautiful job of distracting us from dealing with our biggest problem: ourselves. If you’re feeling lonely, pull up Facebook or watch some porn. If you are thinking about how you are in the wrong career, instead of dealing with that, pull up some funny YouTube videos. You can always distract yourself from dealing with real problems.
If you lack the discipline to study during college, the internet will only facilitate that. If you lack the discipline to focus on your work, there are countless internet sites to keep you amused. But here is the thing, even if you didn’t have the internet, you’d still find other ways to distract yourself. The internet is just the facilitator, not the root of the problem.
Personally, I love the internet, and as someone who is committed to living the strenuous life, I love that the internet points out my flaws.
Growing up with the internet in my household brought a lot of knowledge to my life, but I can tell you that when I look back, I don’t fondly remember times I was sitting in front of the computer for too many hours. Instead, I fondly look back on all the times I was hanging out with my friends and being ridiculous.
There is no doubt that spending as much time on the internet as I did in my teenage years helped me all these years later now that I have an online business, but there is no doubt I have wasted endless hours, maybe even years, online.
Looking back, I know that my problems had nothing to do with the internet itself. My problems were my own lack of discipline and not knowing when to turn the internet off and get back to real life.
Now, looking at my dedication to live the strenuous life, I notice when I am distracting myself from really thinking. If I find myself browsing aimlessly on websites, I try to sit and reflect on what I was thinking about before I started trying to distract myself. Usually it was something along the lines of my life and my purpose here, or something that actually requires deep thought and for me to reflect on my life.
My advice to anyone is to try and notice when you are distracting yourself and think to what you were thinking about before you distracted yourself. It was probably something uncomfortable to think about and I would recommend shutting your technology down for a few hours, get outside, and think deeply about the thing that made you uncomfortable in the first place.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the internet and how it has changed your life, so please leave a comment down below!