If you follow me on Instagram then you know that I just got back from ten days in France. (I know, rough life.) It was an incredible trip, filled with lots of pinch me moments and amazing memories. But I noticed something while I was there, and it prompted me to have a major aha moment.
Watch the video to find out what I learned in Paris, the can’t miss mantra I walked away with, and how you can use it in your own life today.
If you’ve been to Paris, you know that there are so many incredible and beautiful things to see. Seriously, around every corner was something gorgeous, historic, and stop you in your tracks kind of awesome.
But as we walked around the city, in and out of museums and gardens, I noticed a pattern. As people came upon these beautiful spaces, they’d immediately pull out their phones or cameras to document it.
“Oh wow, the Luxembourg gardens”…phone comes out. “Oh look, Notre Dame”…break out the camera. “Definitely gotta document the first bite of my macaron.” Seriously, it was like clockwork.
For days I watched people do this. The instant they’d come in contact with something awesome, and they’d pull out their phone or camera to capture it.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love me some Instagram, and I’m all for photography, but this rush to document has a major flaw.
When we hurry to take a photo, we miss the full experience. We miss the opportunity to marvel and wonder. When we view beauty only through a lens, we miss all the goodness the moment has to offer. Instead of taking in the entire moment, we only take in a small sliver.
By rushing to record an experience, we shrink the experience, missing so much of what it has to offer. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to miss what the moment has to offer. I want to soak up every single ounce.
So to help break this habit, I came up with a mantra.
“Experience first, document second.” Read that again. Experience first, document second.
When you’re in an awesome moment, whether it’s traveling or just in your daily life, challenge yourself to be present first, no camera, no phone. Just be there. Take it in, and soak it up with your full attention. Practice mindfulness, and let your senses notice all the details. Then, later, you can document whatever it is that you’re seeing, but only after you’ve taken it in.
Because if you’re looking at a beautiful landscape, you don’t want to see it through your phone, you want to see it in it’s fully glory. If you’re at an art museum, you don’t want to see the paintings through your camera lens, you want to see them with your eyes. If you’re at your kid’s school program, don’t watch their sweet face through your phone the whole time. Allow yourself to experience it first, document it second.
I practiced this really intentionally throughout our trip, but as you heard in the video, I slipped up once. And I immediately noticed a difference.
Experience first, document second.
It’s not always easy to practice this way of living, but I promise, it makes a huge difference. It allows you to be present and mindful, soaking up all the available goodness of a moment, not just what you see through a screen.
What do you think? Do you notice a rush to document or photograph, instead of fully being in the moment?
PS: Did you know your cell phone is designed to be addicting? Read this to learn how, plus what you can do about it.