Bridging the Gap

One would think that a happy life and good living is enough incentive to make a change or bring people together. However, there is an old saying that comes to mind which goes, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.”

We all know this is true. We can see a person struggle with something personal or struggle with a work dilemma and offer a helpful suggestion, but ultimately, the action belongs to them.

One could be at their wit’s end. One could be facing a loss of their job and their financial security. One could be absolutely miserable. Their clients can’t stand them, co-workers are fed up and the supervisor is about to can them. Plus, their family life is worse than unsatisfying and their entire life is in need of assistance, but yet, offer them an idea to do something; offer them a plan, or give an idea that’s different from the norm to incentivize a change and to them, the idea is almost as bizarre as abandoning the belief that water is wet and the sky is blue.

We have become a certain way now. We are more about technology than personal interaction. There is an app for everything. There is always a technical shortcut. No one calls anymore. Everything is text or email now.
The dignity of a business handshake has become outdone by E-signatures and is as outdated and antiquated.
The specialty of interpersonal relationships has now become automated by a system. We are more cyber now than anything, which I understand to some degree.

I was thinking about the times of my youth when my family used to get together. I am sure most can relate to this.
I was thinking about how my family used to be. Unfortunately, life is life and age is age. Unfortunately, our favorite relatives eventually grow old. And one by one, our favorite relatives move on to their next form of existence, which to us is only memory.
The family gatherings were important to our parents and older relatives. I know this is true because I was told this is true by my parents and older relatives. I was told, “Never forget your family and never forget where you came from.”
Life is different now. The world became an awfully busy place.

This one lives there and that one lives somewhere else now. Everyone is spread out across the country. Everyone is busy.
This one has a house and the kids. That one is going through a divorce. But this is how life is now.
This one has business problems and that one’s company was just acquired by someone else. Everyone is busy, which means spare time is hard to find.
And you wish this was different so you try to create the gatherings you grew up with. You try to get together like we used to but no one has the time. Everyone has a schedule to keep.
Not to mention, the problem that this one doesn’t get along with that one and that one doesn’t like this one because that thing that happened that time at Aunt Tilly’s house.

You can tell this is wrong and you wish things were different but no one makes a move so nothing changes.
After all, this is family, right?
We’re supposed to stay together but no one has time anymore. So what can you do?
You call. You send a text or an email. You send a picture through whichever social media option you choose because social media has become a better social forum than actually interacting and actually getting together.

Besides, there is no traffic on the way to technology. We literally have wristwatches that are phones now, which to me, is something I remember from sci-fi movies when I was a kid.
Am I the only one that thinks this is crazy?

We have become a world of gadgets and gizmos. More and more, we are comfortable this way. We have become singular and isolated.
Our interaction has become more of an “only when necessary” basis. This has come to the point where we have to literally incentivize people to sit and talk with each other because otherwise, people will sit isolated in their comfortable norm.

No wonder depression is at an all-time high. No wonder why anxiety is what it is today. We have become so isolated and inward that we forget there is an outward and external world beyond our cellular or handheld devices.

I have seen big companies and walked through their work spaces and trading floors. I have passed the cubicles in large companies on one side of the floor and was amazed how no one knew the names of anyone that worked on the other side of the floor.
I have seen this in countless companies. People become anonymous to each other; therefore life becomes anonymous; therefore we become anonymous, which means, we find us in a socially vacant world with minimal interaction.

There is a group of people in Silicon Valley who work in big tech companies; and although they are the builders of technology, they absolutely forbid their kids to utilize the technology they build.

Instead, they go back to the Luddite Society, which opposes forms of modern technology, in which case, the parents are saying “Get off your cell phone kid and get outside!”

We have become socially dysfunctional. We went from interpersonal and social to unsocial and self-contained.
So the question I have is how do we incentivize each other to step out of our self-contained shell and interact with one another?

A young client of mine told me the reason people don’t talk anymore is because they don’t want to. “Besides, texting is easier.”
I wonder if this is true. I wonder if this is so or if the reason no one speaks or interacts is because we really don’t have to. We have an app that does this for us now.

The truth is we lose so much revenue in the workplace due to mental illness and social disorders. Look at our society. Look at the deaths which plague every community across the nation. Look at our attitude toward people from different backgrounds and different cultures. Look at how we interact with each other.
The numbers of money we lose to mental illness is getting worse. They are not improving. There is no togetherness anymore; there is only separateness.

Our country loses a potential earning of $210.5 billion because of mental stressors. This is a number that continues to rise.
My question is how do we stop this?

What kind of programs can we offer our teams? What incentives can we offer to bridge people and help them work together? What can we do to have people mingle, interact, socialize, or at minimum, put down their cell phones and talk to one another? And next, how do we answer the pushback we get when we learn people actually prefer not to interact?

I know when I was a kid, there were times when I didn’t want to get in the car to go see my family. I didn’t want to be stuck in traffic and sit in the back seat while crawling slowly along on the Cross Bronx Expressway. I didn’t want to be dressed up in my “Good boy” outfit.
I complained and asked if I could stay home. But the answer was always no.
My Parents told me to get in the car. That was it. Period. End of sentence. There was no choice in the matter. I was told “You’re going to see your family!”

I was also told I will understand how important this is when I am older. Meanwhile, I wanted to stay home and utilize the technology of my youth, which wasn’t much, but still.
Well, I’m older now. And Mom and Dad were right. I do understand.

I understand we need to find a way to incentivize our co-workers and teams to interact. We need to bridge the gaps between us and put down the technology.

By the way, I used to complain on the way to these little family gatherings. I used to cry sometimes, but once I got there, —I swear, it was like I never wanted to leave.
I was having too much fun.

I wonder though . . .
Fun in the workplace?
Could this be?
Wellness in the workplace?
Is this the same thing?
Is this even possible?
Too crazy right?

I suppose we’ll just have to incentivize each other and our teams to see how this plays out. Who knows? Maybe (just maybe) we might improve our work life and the loss of potential earnings won’t be as devastating as it is now . . .

Like I said, we can lead a horse to water but we can’t make them drink.
I agree . . . but shouldn’t we at least offer the incentive?

Ya think?

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