• Julianna Sweeney

Digital Minimalism | Cal Newport

We live at a time where seemingly everything revolves around some sort of digital reality.


Newport offers a new perspective on what it means to being living this digital age, why it is creating the negativity and anxiety that we all experience and what we can do about it moving forward.


If you're looking for a read that will open your eyes and kick you into shape in terms of your digital/social media life, this is most definitely the book for you. It has, without a doubt, thoroughly changed my perspective on the highly-connected life we lead and was one of the basis' for my post on Using Social Media With Intention.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • “The tycoons of social media have to stop pretending that they’re friendly nerd gods building a better world and admit they’re just tobacco farmers in T-shirts selling an addictive product to children. Because, let’s face it, checking your “likes” is the new smoking.”

  • “Digital Minimalism is a philosophy of technology use in which you focus your online time on a small number of carefully selected and optimized activities that strongly support things you value, and then happily miss out on everything else."

  • “Solitude Deprivation is a state in which you spend close to zero time alone with your own thoughts and free from input from other minds [and it is detrimental to moving forward as individuals and as a society].”

  • “The urge to check Twitter or refresh Reddit becomes a nervous twitch that shatters uninterrupted time into shards too small to support the presence necessary for an intentional life.”

  • “Digital minimalism definitively does not reject the innovations of the internet age, but instead rejects the way so many people currently engage with these tools.”

  • “Where we want to be cautious . . . is when the sound of a voice or a cup of coffee with a friend is replaced with ‘likes’ on a post.”

  • “minimalists don’t mind missing out on small things; what worries them much more is diminishing the large things they already know for sure make a good life good.”

  • “Outsourcing your autonomy to an attention economy conglomerate—as you do when you mindlessly sign up for whatever new hot service emerges from the Silicon Valley venture capitalist class—is the opposite of freedom, and will likely degrade your individuality.”

  • There is a huge difference between being lonely and being alone

  • “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone,” Blaise Pascal famously wrote in the late seventeenth century.”

  • In a word more connected than ever before, we are seeing a higher level of loneliness than ever recorded.

  • “Leisure Lesson #1: Prioritize demanding activity over passive consumption.”

  • “Leave good evidence of yourself. Do good work.”

  • “Face-to-face conversation is the most human--and humanizing--thing we do. Fully present to one another, we learn to listen. It's where we develop the capacity for empathy. It's where we experience the joy of being heard, of being understood.”

  • “Solitude requires you to move past reacting to information created by other people and focus instead on your own thoughts and experiences—wherever you happen to be.”

  • “The sugar high of convenience is fleeting and the sting of missing out dulls rapidly, but the meaningful glow that comes from taking charge of what claims your time and attention is something that persists.”

  • “when you avoid solitude, you miss out on the positive things it brings you: the ability to clarify hard problems, to regulate your emotions, to build moral courage, and to strengthen relationships.”


“Simply put, humans are not wired to be constantly wired.”

I hope this helps to remind you that social media is not real life. Real life is talking to the ones you love in person, going on adventures in nature, doing things that light up your soul, working so hard on something you're passionate about that you get into a flow state and are able to leave an impact on the lives of others. Real life is simplicity and complexity in perfect balance.


Issues are never black and white. People repost things without thinking or processing on social media - it's easy. In real life you have to think things through, do research, learn new perspectives. Real life is not an echo chamber. It is a place where you're tested and stretched and burned and you're never truly "safe" from things you don't like or that you don't want to happen. But you grow, and you pay it forward and you live with purpose because of it all.


It's not easy to make the switch, but once you see what is waiting on the other side, you're going to wonder why we ever put ourselves through such a dull and anxiety-ridden life in the first place. I hope this helps and offers a new perspective on the digital world we find ourselves living in today. Let me know what you think!


Sending love always,

J.S.



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