Monday, August 31, 2015

#18 - Zap the Map


Stop using Google Maps on your phone. (or whatever app you use).

It's killing your brain. 

Let me explain. 

For years now, I've used Google or Apple maps for nearly everything. If I need to go somewhere, I type in the address, and I'm on my way. Boom.

It tells me routes, when to turn left, and when I'll get there. It's the most convenient and tempting way to get from Point A to Point B. 

And it's turned me into a zombie.

When I map from another city or some distant location to my house, I listen to everything it tells me to do, like an automated robot. Which makes sense for the first few hundred miles. 

But even when I'm a few miles from my house, I find myself continuing to listen intently and follow its every command. 

Lately I've found myself doing this and get annoyed. "What the hell am I doing!? I don't need this. I can think for myself." And I close the app. 

Suddenly, my pride kicks in. My autonomy. 

Where was it all those other miles?

Which is why, about a month ago, I decided to stop mapping while I'm driving. 

I wanted to practice driving the way it used to be, where you would look up at the street signs, and calculate distance in your head, and know which way is north, and just make a decision of where to go.

And what the heck, even get lost, and have to make a U-turn, and learn from your mistakes.

I want to use my freaking head for crying out loud. 

I want for the unthinkable to be able to occur, for my phone to die, and for me to still be capable of functioning as a human being with real skills.

Now, here's a side note: I do use the app to find my route before driving. I study it to see where I'm going before I'm on my way. And if I absolutely need to, I'll pull over and study it some more. (Let's be honest: there are obvious safety lines we cross when messing with our phones, even if it's not "texting." Pulling over helps me feel safer in this way.)

So that's my challenge to you. If you can, pick your head out of your phone and just drive.

Study the map ahead of time. Be prepared and trust yourself.

I'm willing to bet that with your eyes, ears, and brain, you have everything you need to get where you want to go.