Your Imperfections Make You Human. Your Humanity Makes You Influential (Part 2)

Welcome back for Part 2 of my conversation with Teen Whisperer Josh Shipp.

You haven’t listened to Part 1 yet? Go do that first, then come on back. It will save me some explaining. But as long as we’re on the subject, let’s recap the situation.

Josh is a recognized teen behavior expert well known for helping adults understand teens and teens understand themselves. He’s worked with, appeared on and/or contributed to MTV, CNN, FOX, The New York Times, 20/20, Anderson Cooper Live, and Good Morning America. In 2009 Josh was named to Inc. magazine’s “30 Under 30” of successful entrepreneurs. He has lectured at Harvard, Stanford, UCLA and MIT, starred in two documentary-style television series and authored two books: The Teen’s Guide to World Domination  and  Jump Ship.

If you did listen to my intro and outro to Part 1, then you know Josh challenged me to remove e-mail and social media from my iPhone as a means of increasing my overall productivity and enhancing the quality of my interpersonal interactions. Today is day 3 and as Josh so adeptly predicts in this second part of our conversation, I am indeed twitchy. A little anxious. Scattered and basically just uncomfortable with the whole idea. Why? Because I like being connected at all times. I like the buzz and anticipation of checking social media. And I can easily justify it as part of my job. But this does not mean it’s healthy because it isn’t. My relationship might not fall into Her (the movie) territory, but it’s definitely obsessive compulsive, if not just a downright addiction.

What does this remind me of?


Weathering a detox — or in this case an iDetox — isn’t fun. But for me it’s familiar territory. I know that if I stick with it, it will pass. I also know that the simple fact I am experiencing withdrawal symptoms is a pretty good indicator that I am onto something. Something I need to do if I want to grow.

Monday night I fired an e-mail off to Josh to thank him again for doing the podcast and to let him know Part 1 was live. I closed the note with the following:

“P.S. – deleted Twitter, Facebook AND e-mail from my phone. Think I’m going to have a panic attack. Tell me I’ll be OK.”

The next morning, Josh replied:

“Imagine having Doritos and a green drink sitting in front of you. If you’re new to eating clean … you’ll grab the Doritos every time, even though you know better. But when the ONLY option is the green drink, you are at first forced to go for it, but then later choose it. We should choose real humans, friends, family, etc. first. But social media is the Doritos. As sad as this is, we have slowly trained ourselves to go to real people LAST instead of first… This is a way of reprograming ourselves.”

So true. I’ve decided to undergo this #iDetox for me, but I also know I’m not alone. This is for the millions of people out there quietly coveting smart phone addictions that are ultimately degrading the quality of their three dimensional tactile, analog lives. Their real lives. If I can do this, then so can you.

Are you in? If so, here’s what I am doing for the next 30 days — I dare you to join me:

  1. Delete your social media and e-mail apps from your smart phone.
  2. On your iPhone to go: Settings > General > Restrictions > That should be ON and you should NOT have the passcode. Let your partner or a buddy set it.
  3. Delete the App Store. That’s right. You heard me.
  4. Set reasonable, permissible “work hours” for e-mail and social media (on a desktop or laptop). Do not deviate.
  5. Openly share the ups and downs of your experience online (during prescribed “work hours” of course) using the hashtag #iDetox.

This is not about quitting social media or becoming some kind of technology luddite. It’s simply about creating healthy boundaries around use. It’s about prioritizing real relationships over virtual ones. And it’s about being more present in the life you are actually living. Let’s treat this like a fun 30 day ride. An experiment undertaken together. If after 30 days we conclude we are happier, more present, and importantly more productive, then together we can assess a long-term strategy and its implications going forward.

None of us are perfect. But to echo Josh, it’s these imperfections that make us human. And the pooled, communal humanity is what just might make this collective endeavor highly influential.

So let’s tap that Josh Shipp vein once again and pick up the mainline where we left off on Monday. I sincerely hope you enjoy the second part of the conversation and I encourage you to let me know what you think of it and this whole #iDetox experiment in the comments below.

Peace + Plants,



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