How to Mind-Hack Yourself Using a Cellphone Battery.

chicagotj.org mind hack

I grew up in the ever-so distant 90’s. Google did not exist (no Internet either), computer games were in monochrome and displayed on CRT screens, and the Chicago Bulls were doing crazy things like winning championships. High mobile technology at the time was the pager, with monthly service costs of $60 and sometimes higher. If a person had a pager, society was certain that the person was a doctor or a drug dealer. If you met someone on the train or bus, exchanged pager numbers, and you decided that you wanted to take things further, you had to:

  • Wait until you got home
  • Wait until they got home
  • Wait until the phone was not being used by anyone else in the house.
  • Sit by the phone and wait if you were looking for a call back.

 No Facebook. No Twitter. No Instagram. If you wanted to break up with someone, it was in person or over the phone. Cheating on someone (this is not an endorsement) was a heck of a lot easier because there was no social media trolling. The world was a slower, quieter place.

We’ve abandoned relationships of real substance and genuineness, trading down for instant social gratification & severe narcissism.

remember me?

And then came the unrelenting ubiquity of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. Heralded into this age by the Apple iPhone, “smart” technology has created a world where it has never been easier to say so much to so many without saying much at all. Pundits of all varieties, peddling their wares of misinformed opinions or outright idiocy, flourished.


This is not the world our parents or we grew up in. 

We’ve abandoned relationships of real substance and genuineness, trading down for instant social gratification, severe narcissism and the surreal notion that anyone can actually have 1,000 friends, and that they all are invested in our well-being. Is it more important to have a connection, or to truly be connected?

While you ponder that question, consider that no matter how you choose to answer, the latest trends in technology are geared towards helping our smart devices charge faster and stay on longer. So many important things to do, words to speak, sites to visit…..right? We wish we could do it all in these short 24 hours we have each day. 

And maybe that’s the problem.

Here’s a mind hack you can try anytime that will give you invaluable insight regarding the things you think are important,  verses the things that your actions show are important to you. 

Imagine you have 10 minutes left for your battery life, after which time your smartphone/tablet will power-down. In those 10 minutes, what will you choose to do? 

  • Check the news? 
  • Speak to family? 
  • Play a mobile game? 
  • Business or pleasure? 

What mental gymnastics would you perform to decide which activity takes precedence? 

so many choices

However the process happens for you, rest assured that you will always pick those things which are priority to you. It is unavoidable, immutable human behavior. You may sincerely believe that keeping up with Britain’s historical vote to leave the European Union is critically important, but how can that be the case when you spend the train ride playing Angry Birds? Do you study for the LSAT so you can fulfill your dream of practicing Law one day, or do you widdle-away your time watching movie trailers? Whatever you spend your time on, it is those things which are important to you. What words conceal, actions reveal. 

I turned 40 this year. If God so grants, maybe I have 40 more good years left. The truth of the matter is plain: our batteries are running out of juice. The battery indicator turns red for all of us. I will–we all will–spend whatever time we have left on this Earth doing whatever things matter most to us. I will never advocate a position that regulates personal choice (so long as we do no harm to any); I do however hope and pray that our choices involve the things that truly matter, not merely the things that matter to us.

What would you do with your last ten minutes of battery life? Join the conversation in the comments.