The Thanksgiving Rule

Last night, Kels took me out for a little pre-birthday celebration. We hit a wine bar and then went and saw the new Hunger Games movie. The woman knows the way to my heart: alcohol and popcorn. 

In between glasses of French and Italian imports I noticed myself texting away on my phone. I quickly stopped, put the phone back in my pocket, and didn’t take it out for the rest of our happy hour. 

It pisses me off when somebody is on their phone while I’m talking to them. I’m not immune to doing it – even on evenings filled with cocktails and hot, crisp, buttery popcorn. I’m embarrassed. I was basically telling her that “I’m no longer listening to your and I don’t appreciate your cat jokes.” Although I actually do listen and enjoy her cat jokes (sometimes), my actions show otherwise, and that can’t hurt. 

Just last week I was telling a story to somebody, and halfway through they pulled out their phone. I slowly let my (incredibly engaging) story tailor off and sat there for a cool 90 seconds. The dude finally looked back up, and said “yeah man, definitely.” 

The fuck? Definitely what? I slowly turned and walked away all jammed up about my storytelling ability 😔

One of the most powerful gifts we can give others is our presence. With more and more distractions, it is becoming rare to hold a full 5-minute conversation without pulling out our gizmos and gadgets to swipe right or snap back. 

And this isn’t about devices, it’s about our attention spans that closely resemble that of a deranged squirrel. 

In her badass storytelling book, The Story Factor, Annete Simmons writes about our attention deficit crisis:

“In our technological economy, human attention is the emerging scarce resource. People need it, crave it, and will pay for it with their cooperation. In today’s world almost anyone you want to influence is operating under a deficit of human attention. They are not getting enough time or attention from the people who are important to them or the people that they love.”

Want to influence people? Ditch the phone. Want people to like you? Listen to what they say. It’s one of the most amazing social skills of all time. You don’t have to say, do, or be anything and people LOVE you. Literally by sitting there and paying attention, people leave thinking you’re the greatest thing since those holiday-popcorn-tin-buckets-with-the-three-different-flavors-an-leave-you-wondering-why-the-caramel-section-is-so-damn-big. 


If you’re fortunate enough to be with your family or friends on Thanksgiving, take the day to engage, to listen, to talk, to tell stories, and for god sakes don’t text for 90 seconds then blindly respond “yeah man, definitely. 

This is why I am introducing the Thanksgiving Rule.

The Thanksgiving Rule: You must turn off all devices for 4 consecutive hours. You must listen, engage, and talk with friends and family. Ask questions, tell stories, and laugh with one another. 

What do you think? Can you make it happen? Happy Thanksgiving #BeGrateful 

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