When you’re getting ready to move from suburbia to a small mountain town, you have an idyllic picture in your mind of your new surroundings: elk roaming everywhere, people out paddling, hiking and cycling all day and a community that has shunned technology because they’re too busy interacting with slopes, trees and water. It’s only when you make the move that you realize how different your imaginary, pastoral scene is from reality.
Yes, I do see wildlife every day. Sure, there are plenty of active people. And yes, I’ve had plenty of conversations with those who like to leave their phones and tablets at home when they go to meet friends at a pub or coffee shop. Then there’s the flipside. One guy almost ran into me on a trail because he was so focused on checking his heartrate every few seconds that he had no idea there was someone coming towards him. Another girl almost hit a rock on her mountain bike when she was fast forwarding a song on her iPhone. Many others are oblivious to the deer hopping down the hillside and the birds in full song above because they’re always wired and in their own little world. And back in the big city, my wife told me about how stressed out counting steps was making her mom’s friends. Most people already spend hours each day fixated on screens, and now we’re adding fitness trackers and supposedly smart watches into the mix.
When I started talking to Brian Mackenzie and Andy Galpin about this topic, I soon realized that this issue of being overly connected to technology and under-connected to our own instincts, environment and other people wasn’t just an issue with weekend warriors or day hikers, but also with elite athletes. They’re not just obsessing over sleep monitor scores and spending hours geeking out on Strava stats, but also relying on shoes with thick soles to buffer their bad mechanics and freaking out if they get a ding on their featherweight bike frames. Heck, one company is even selling Bluetooth-enabled cups that tell you when to drink water. We’ve become so convinced by marketers’ claims of technological progress that we’re abdicating even our most elemental decision making to machines.
Brian and Andy and I agreed that we need to hit a giant reset button. The result is our book Unplugged. I could go on for another few paragraphs about what it’s about, but I think the subhead gives you a pretty good idea of what we’re going for: Evolve from technology to upgrade your fitness, performance and consciousness. In addition to sharing a blueprint based on Brian and Andy’s wealth of experience, we’ve pulled in the likes of Laird Hamilton and Kai Lenny, Tim Ferriss and Steven Kotler to share their tips on how to stop relying on technology and start living a full, instinctual and daring life. Ready to join the #unplugged revolution? Your move.