Q: What is an unintended (negative) consequence of increased productivity?
A: Loss of community and sharing ideas in person
Arnold Schwarzenegger is the greatest bodybuilders of his time, and arguably one of the best of all-time. He became an icon during a point in history when gyms were becoming increasingly popular, and body-building as a sport was taking off. It was also a time when gyms were very communal.
Personal and portable music players weren’t popular yet, and noise-cancelling headphones were unheard of. Instead of listening to a podcast during your workout, people would naturally strike up conversations with others because they were both at the gym there was automatically a natural connection.
Today, if you walk into any gym in America, you see more headphones than people. Each person locked into their own soundtrack–carefully curating their mood to increase performance; or listening to a podcast or audiobook to multitask and increase productivity.
Are we better off because our technology allows us to lift more, multi-task, and fire off a few emails between sets? Probably.
Has it come at a cost? Yes.
Because our phones allows us to connect to anyone, we neglect the people next to us because they aren’t in our contact list.
To quote from David Perell:
Headphones at the gym are a good metaphor for modern individualism. We’ve optimized for individual productivity at the expense of community and social interaction. The tradeoffs might be worth it, but we should make them consciously.https://ckarchive.com/b/92uzhnho6pk6
Actionable Question: Am I okay with the tradeoffs when I choose individual productivity at the expense of community?