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Cell Phones Are the New Smoking


Guest articles > Cell Phones Are the New Smoking


by: Lisa Earle McLeod


I would have made a great smoker. Aside from the aging skin, yellowing teeth and eventual death from cancer, it’s the perfect habit for me.

I love the elegance of smoking. Imagine, you’re in a jazz club, wearing a gown, and elbow length satin gloves. You snap open a jeweled pouch, take out a slim cigarette, place it ever so gently near your lips, almost caressing it. From the other side of the table, a handsome man jumps forth to light it with a sterling silver box of fire.

Or perhaps you use a long thin Hollywood style holder, and gesture with it when you talk, puffing out slim wisps of smoke to give you an air of mystery.

If I hadn’t seen the black lung versus pink lung anti-smoking presentation every year from the 4th grade forward, I have no doubt I would have been a three-pack-a-dayer.

Smoking gives you something to do with your hands, and it keeps you thin. Like I said, it’s the perfect habit. Given the chance, I know I could have been a real showy smoker, right up there with Clark Gable and Greta Garbo.

As a child, watching old movies, I longed for the day when I too could punctuate my conversations with meaningful glances over my smoldering cigarette. I even bought candy cigarettes to practice. Yes, there was such a thing.

Now as an adult who fidgets in meetings and struggles with her weight, I often think cigarettes would have been the perfect antidote for my antsy finger tapping, M & M eating personality. But alas, medical science intervened. Once the facts were put forth, I couldn’t un-know them.

My fidgety hands and addictive personality had to content themselves with pen chewing and hair twirling. That is, until the marvelous invention of the cell phone.

It’s the socially acceptable version of cigarettes. You can whip it out
in meetings, use it during after dinner drinks, and tap on it when you get bored. You can even gesture with it.

For most technology products, I’m what the industry refers to as a “late majority.” But with cell phones I was an early adopter. A cell phone feeds my need for constant communication and fidgeting all in one.

I’m not alone. When was the last time you saw someone on a bus, or in a restaurant, or even in line at the grocery store without a phone in their hand?

Consider this tweet that went viral: “There's a guy in this coffee shop sitting at a table, not on his phone, not on a laptop, just drinking coffee, like a psychopath.”

It wouldn’t be funny if it weren’t true. Yet just as the glamour of smoking masked the true impact, smart phones have an ugly underbelly.

Instead of body cancer, we’ve got social cancer. While we were tapping away, human interaction shriveled.

My grandmother couldn’t talk on the phone without puffing on a cigarette. Now, people can’t talk to each other without checking their phones.

You can’t quit your phone habit cold turkey, not if you want to keep your job. So what’s an addict to do?

For me, the secret is to limit consumption. It’s a daily battle, but when my kids are talking, and my fingers start twitching for my phone, I do what my grandmother did to kick her habit, I reach for a candy and fidget with the wrapper.


Lisa Earle McLeod is a sales leadership consultant. Companies like Apple, Kimberly-Clark and Pfizer hire her to help them create passionate, purpose-driven sales forces. She the author of several books including Selling with Noble Purpose: How to Drive Revenue and Do Work That Makes You Proud, a Wiley publication, released Nov. 15, 2012. She has appeared on The Today Show, and has been featured in Forbes, Fortune and The Wall Street Journal. She provides executive coaching sessions, strategy workshops, and keynote speeches.

More info:

Lisa's Blog How Smart People Can Get Better At Everything

Copyright 2016 Lisa Earle McLeod. All rights reserved.

Contributor: Lisa Earle McLeod

Published here on: 25-Sep-16

Classification: Development


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