My friend and frequent collaborator, Whitney Bishop, was recently telling me about a weekend trip she was planning with her husband. It involved driving to a remote location in Kentucky and attending a concert in the middle of nowhere. She also promised her husband she would be leaving her laptop and iPad at home. The phrase she used to sum up her plans really jumped out at me:
“Every once in awhile you just have to go acoustic.”
When a musician goes acoustic, she/he has set aside all the newfangled electronic instruments and plays instead with the non-electrified version. They trade their electric guitar for an acoustic guitar. Or they swap their electric keyboard for a “real” piano. I know a few musicians who enjoy cleaning acoustic guitars and playing them every once in a while, after all, acoustic guitars do have a great sound to them.
I’m a big believer in unplugging on a regular basis (I’m the guy who bought a cabin in the woods last year, after all). I’ve always thought being connected was an all-or-nothing choice. Either you’re on-the-grid or you’re off-the-grid, there’s really no middle choice. You either live the the Amish or you live like the city folk.
Going Acoustic Might Be The Middle Ground We’re All Looking For
Then I heard that phrase, “go acoustic,” and it made me think maybe there is a middle ground after all. Maybe there HAS to be a middle ground right now. Maybe the idea of going acoustic could help relieve the stress that being so connected all the time can cause and simultaneously help relieve the stress I sometimes feel by NOT being connected. What if I just went acoustic more often, both at work and at home?
What if I stop bringing my iPad to meetings?
What if I spend just 30 minutes every day thinking or brainstorming with only a pen and paper as my tool?
What if I leave my laptop in my briefcase on the weekends, or even one day on the weekend?
What if I only use my phone as a phone (and not as a distraction device) when I am with family and friends.
What if I check Facebook twice a day instead of twice a minute?
What if one night a week I pick up a book instead of the remote control?
Any one of these ideas would give my brain the rest it needs from the noise of my electrified world without completely disconnected. I can still carry my smart phone with me, but I could be smarter about the way I use it. I don’t have to leave my laptop at work, but I don’t need to leave it open twenty four hours a day, either. I don’t have to cancel my Facebook account, just curb how often I look at it.
I have actually made a lot of these moves in the past year and it has helped free up a lot of time and brainpower, and has definitely lowered the stress in my life. I can now see that I have been going acoustic quite a bit more than I used to. The big difference today, though, is that I’m starting to look at going acoustic as a worthy goal in itself instead of thinking it’s only a baby step to getting completely off-the-grid.
Funny how a single word can sometimes make such a huge difference in the way you think, huh?
Anyway, I wonder if you have something to add to this idea. Does going acoustic work for you or do you have to completely unplug? What’s your favorite way to go acoustic? Did this idea shake up your thinking at all like it did for me? Leave a reply below. I’d love to hear from you on this one.