Triple Dog Dare You to Put Down Your Phone

‘Tis the season for holiday parties, presents, and get togethers of all kinds.  I am here today to talk about being present.  Literally putting down your phone in meetings, at dinners, and around others.  Give others your time and attention. 

In case this concept is foreign or seems a little too woo-woo, let’s quickly define it with some examples. 

“Being fully present means having your focus, your attention, your thoughts and feelings all fixed on the task at hand. If you are speaking to somebody, then your attention and energy is focused on him or her and what he or she is saying. If you are doing a task, then your entire being is focused on the task.”

Personal Resilience Builder

Before we get further into the details, lets reminisce on the best holiday movie of all time, The Christmas Story.  And don’t disagree with me you filthy animal!  Yes, I am serious Clark!  Ok maybe there is a three-way tie for best holiday movie of all time. 

Flick: Are you kidding? Stick my tongue to that stupid pole? That’s dumb!

Schwartz: That’s ’cause you know it’ll stick!

Flick: You’re full of it!

Schwartz: Oh yeah?

Flick: Yeah!

Schwartz: Well I double-DOG-dare ya!

Ralphie as an Adult: [narrating]  NOW it was serious. A double-dog-dare. What else was there but a “triple dare you”? And then, the coup de grace of all dares, the sinister triple-dog-dare.

Schwartz: I TRIPLE-dog-dare ya!

Ralphie as an Adult: [narrating]  Schwartz created a slight breach of etiquette by skipping the triple dare and going right for the throat!

We are all adults that know that our tongues will stick to that stupid flag pole, so we just don’t do it.  What if I were to modernize this dialogue and talk about your cell phone?

You:  Are you kidding?  Leave my phone at my desk during a meeting?  That’s dumb!

Me:  That’s ‘cause you know you can’t do it!

You:  You are nuts!

Me:  Oh yeah?

You:  Yeah!

Me:  I triple dog dare you to leave your phone behind!

I bring this up because often in meetings there is a delay in responding, a retelling of the issue because someone was looking at their phone rather than paying attention.  Eyes roll.  Frustrations build.  And another wasted, drawn out meeting continues.  All in the name of scrolling through Facebook and checking emails.  Yes, I have witnessed meeting attendees looking through Facebook during a meeting that they scheduled. 

Look I get it.  In the wise words of Cal Newport, author of Digital Minimalism, “we didn’t sign up for this.” We didn’t sign up to be tethered to our phones.  We didn’t sign up to jump at every beep, ding, or buzz.  We didn’t sign up to be constantly in contact with the world.  We weren’t supposed to be like the dogs in Pavlov’s classical conditioning experiment with the bell. 

Yet here we are.  Jumping at every beep, ding, and buzz.  Wondering how many likes we got on a picture or post, worrying if we are missing an important email, or even worse worrying if we are taking too long to respond to a text message.   The fear of missing out is a real thing, until you change your relationship with your cell phone.  It takes time.  It is hard.  Very hard.  But start small for the holidays. 

  • Can you find one meeting a week to leave your phone behind?
  • Can you go for a walk without your phone?
  • How about a meal without your phone?

I am going to leave you today with a triple dog dare challenge.  I triple dog dare you to see how long you can go without looking at your phone.  Comment below with your results. 

“Yeah hey, they say two thousand zero zero party over, oops, out of time
So tonight I’m gonna party like it’s nineteen ninety-nine”


1999 Cell Phone:

Looking for more resources?  Check out the following books:

  • Cal Newport – Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World
  • Brooke McAlery – Slow: Simple Living for a Frantic World
  • Marie Kondo – The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

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