blog post 30
January 27th 2018
I took a break from Whatsapp … here is what happened… 
Mona 16 year old
I don’t like the word addiction in general, but I don’t want to sugar coat our current reality. Most people are addicted to something in this world, from food, to alcohol, tobacco and TV. The modern addiction of our current era is Technology, social media and being ‘Busy’ all the time …

A couple of months ago, a friend of mine put up a post on social media and she mentioned that she had lost her phone, and that she didn't have access to her Whatsapp and social media on her phone and she has never been happier!! She wrote that she will probably buy an old mobile without internet connection to continue this forced happiness! 

This made me think: do we really need to lose our phones or experience a tragedy in order to make such a decision. Is technology helping us to achieve more or is it lowering the quality of our lives? I’ve seen many similar videos of people who quit social media and Whatsapp for sometime and the benefits of it in their lives … 

As part of my “You Can Have it All” training, I always talk about the importance of Mindfulness as well as Mental strength to focus on important tasks. During one of my trainings last week, I was talking about this topic and I realized that Social Media and the number of hours that we spend on our phone is still one of the main challenges of my audience… 

I also became more aware of my own behavior recently and I realized that I don’t have the patience that I used to have. My mind is wired to receive replies on Whatsapp or see results almost instantly… This was another reason for me to take a step back and focus on my long-term plans and goals. 

I thought about taking a break from Whatsapp for sometime and to be very honest with you, the thought of it scared me in the beginning. I am a part of more than 20 groups and I am admin in 10 of them which are mainly our Mompreneur Rising course alumnae… I arrange a lot of my tasks from personal to professional on Whatsapp and I had a huge FOMO about not being on Whatsapp .. 

Saying that, Freedom is one of my top 5 values and I don’t want to be addicted to anything and anyone in this world. I rarely watch TV and I don’t play any video games, and I am very mindful of the activities that take the most of my time. I totally understand the benefits of technology in our lives, but I don't like the feeling that I can’t live without it. I had to give it a try …

I couldn’t do it before our Mompreneur Rising Pitch Finale which was last Saturday as I knew that our mompreneurs need my constant feedback on their presentations and I had to be there for them. As soon as the event was finished, I informed everyone and deleted the app, but it wasn’t as easy as it sounds. This is how the journey started!

So I decided to delete or deactivate Whatsapp to see what would happen. I thought that the main challenge would be making the decision to delete the app, but the real challenges start after you make the decision! Whatsapp doesn’t want you to leave and they have taken every step possible to keep you engaged. I couldn’t find a lot of this information online and I experimented it all and decided to share it with you:

These are the steps I took to take a break from Whatsapp or at least take a break from the feeling that I can’t function without it! 

-) I made my partner an admin for all the groups that I was an admin 

-) I informed all the groups and told them that I am taking a short break 

-) Out of 20 groups, I ‘had’ to stay in touch with 3 of them, no choice. One is my son’s school class updates, another one is a leadership program that I am currently a part of and finally, a group that I’ve committed to mentor for a year. I could not let go of my commitments and I joined those groups from another number. So it’s not a total break from Whatsapp, I still have to check my other number from time to time. 

-) I saved important conversations that I wanted to keep as a reference 

When I informed my groups and close friends that I will be off Whatsapp for sometime, I didn’t expect replies like this:

Bravo, you are an inspiration!

Good on you, I wish I could do this .. 

Enjoy your detox ..

And a bit different reaction from my mastermind group:

“What will happen to our meetings?” My reply? “I’m still alive!! Let’s meet! :-) and I will be back, it’s just an experiment …. “

And my mom, “How am I going to find you when I need you?” … “Mom, I’m sure you managed to find me before the existence of Whatsapp .. ” 

When I met people, they told me that they wished they could do the same … So it made me really think whether this fast-paced lifestyles is also making us Happier… and the answer is No … Excellence requires patience and time … 

So I went to “Settings” and chose “Delete” and this is the message that I got from Whatsapp: 

Proceed to delete your account? It is impossible to reverse this action! 

I was already doubting my decision and then boom! You get a warning! Be careful, You are missing out Big time by making this decision … 

I said Yes, and my account was deleted .. all the data from the past couple of years, gone! I was out of all the groups and I thought I am Whatsapp free now … 

The next day my partner sent me a good old text message that Ryan’s friend’s mom had sent me a message on Whatsapp.. What?! But I have deleted the account!! Well, apparently it doesn’t matter whether I have deleted my account or not, people could still find me and they could send me messages, but the messages all had one tick instead of two which the sender may never notice!! And unfortunately I can’t be off Whatsapp while others are able to send me messages .. But when I go back, I will use it selectively and at specific times during the day. I won’t be glued to my phone and it’s important to me to know that I am not addicted to it ..  

If you want to take a short break and you don’t mind missing out on a couple of messages, you can uninstall the app instead of deleting your account. By uninstalling, you will still lose your data from individual conversations, but you won’t Leave any groups .. I had to do both to understand the difference! 

To conclude, I know that the problem is not the technology but the way we use it. But some businesses are built on human vulnerability. Another example is Credit Cards with all the promotions and reward points and bonuses, they only survive on human’s flaws and vulnerability and when you are thousands of dollars in debt, they won’t be as caring and friendly anymore … you have fallen into their trap … 

Although I use all social media platforms and I admire the innovative minds behind all of our today’s technology, I am also looking forward to the day when the Mark Zuckerbergs and Tim Cooks of the world admit that their products are addictive and use their million dollar budgets to improve the quality of people's lives .. everything is not about speed and numbers, we need deep and meaningful connections instead of shallow images that feed our ego …

The most important step is to keep the “balance” in our lives to avoid getting addicted to anything in this world. I’m gonna quote from a good friend of mine who is my source of inspiration: “everything created can serve you in a good way if you can control it and use it in a balanced way …"

I want you to know that you can break any habit and that you always have a choice in life. For me, the entire experiment was just to know that I have the power to say Yes or No to any choice in my life... 

I’m looking forward to talking to you live on Thursday, February 1st at 3 pm GST/UAE. Join my page and I will see you soon! 

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Copyright Mona Tavassoli 2017