In the previous blog post in this series I described some of the “epiphany-inducing” experiences that I had that started me to seriously start considering my own phone use & overuse. The events that I described in that post happened several years ago. However, they were some of the initial seeds of the idea that would later become the Legendary Life No Phone Challenge (#LLNoPhoneChallenge).
In the years since those initial epiphanies I worked hard, with varying levels of success, with gains and setbacks, to address the aspects of my own unhealthy, overuse of my phone. I tried many different methods and “hacks”. I tried stacking different combinations of hacks on top of one another. Ultimately, however, I was successful developing something that worked really well for me.
Initially my interest was really just about finding “hacks” I could use to optimize my efficiency, better manage my time, and just be more generally productive in both business and my personal life.
However, as I researched the topic more deeply it also led me down the rabbit hole of researching the connection between “phone overuse and abuse” to the daunting mental health crisis we as a society find ourselves in the midst of (you can read more about the connection between phone abuse and mental health in part 2 of this series here.)
What started as a personal R&D effort to find some self-improvement “hacks” that might incrementally improve my daily efficiency, productivity, and “balance” evolved into a complex, deep dive on potential methods that could be used to counter advanced, personally customized AI algorithms. As you may already know, these are really, really effective algorithms that tech companies have invested billions of dollars into. Simply put, their objective is hacking our subconscious and keeping us addicted to our screens.
Meanwhile, as I was working on optimizing my phone usage, I observed more and more people in my communities falling deeper and deeper into unhealthy relationships with their devices. In some cases, this phone addiction was contributing to dangerous mental health challenges. I wondered, how can we generate awareness of this crisis, help address it, and encourage people to get back into balance. I wanted to come up with something that is challenging, yet fun. Effective, yet simple to achieve. The idea for a challenge that had the potential for fitting the bill ended up evolving over several years.
Much of the Legendary Life No Phone Challenge is based on a series of experiences that I had over the past several years. These experiences helped me develop the framework for the version of the current iteration of the No Phone Challenge. I relayed a couple of the anecdotes about these experiences or “origin stories” in my previous blog post in this series. I’ll tell a couple more of the stories of those experiences in this post and the subsequent posts in this series.
My hope is that one of the stories will inspire you to take on the challenge. If you’re not ready to jump full-on into the deep end and take on the entire challenge, why not consider just turning off your GPS one day while you are on your next vacation or road trip. You may be pleasantly surprised at all the new connections and adventures that the experience will help you create. At the very least, you will have some good stories to share on your next date night or dinner party.
Legendary Life briefly ran a more basic version of this challenge early on in Legendary Life’s evolution. I went to Israel over the 2018-2019 New Year to meet with my co-founder Lee. We were in the midst of launching the Legendary Life brand. It was just the two of us. At the time we were launching our first products that we had worked so long and hard to develop. I was in Israel (Lee’s homeland) to do some New Year’s business planning and strategy. In the middle of a marathon product R&D session I pitched Lee about the idea I had for the No Phone Challenge. I recall that we both thought it could be a fun & positive thing to put out there. We knew it was definitely “on brand” for what we were trying to do with our new company, Legendary Life. However, as good as we thought the challenge concept was, we didn’t have the required bandwidth or resources to do much with the idea at the time.
Nevertheless, without too much planning beyond our initial discussion we put the challenge out there on our Instagram. The challenge got quite a response, relatively speaking. Considering that, at that time, we were a brand new, tiny, 2 person, start-up that hadn’t built any sort of community to speak of at all. The couple basic posts that we put up on our social media generated more passionate discussion, comments, and interest than anything else we had done at the time.
In retrospect, we probably should have invested more time into developing the challenge back then when it started getting some initial momentum. However, if you’ve ever been involved in a start-up you know that there’s always a million things to do. We were trying to research, develop and launch new products, manage and market the products that we already had and do all the other things that small businesses need to do each day to try and grow (or even just survive).
So that initial No Phone Challenge was soon left untended in the rear view as we turned our focus onto other priorities. However, we never forgot it and would frequently discuss ways to improve and update it. Flash forward to 2022. As we emerge from the COVID pandemic the mental health crisis continues to expand seemingly unabated. So maybe this is the perfect time to make the No Phone Challenge a global phenomenon?
But I digress. Let’s get back to some fun, truelife, “no phone” stories from “the wild”. Maybe they will inspire you to give the challenge a try. If you dare!
Up next in this series: “(Phone) Anarchy in the UK (and Ireland)”
#LLnophonechallenge #NoPhoneChallenge #LegendaryLife #LiveYourLegend