He’s the Strong, Noisy Type
As the pandemic was taking shape, I hosted a book club event for our team on “The Lonely Century” by Noreena Hertz. As a veteran of the high-tech industry, I was ironically growing concerned about the isolating effects of interconnectivity. In other words, with how prevalent devices are in intermediating what is passing for communication.
Even before the wave of social distancing measures, I was concerned that our customers were at risk of a combination of patient fatigue and systemic isolation. As we know, prostate cancer can be emotionally taxing in subtle ways, particularly amongst those also stoically providing emotional support to loved ones.
Today, let’s explore how and why, in a society prone to technology-driven over-communication, “real” connection and communication is absent for so many. To do this, let’s redefine “noisy” as “engaged” and by doing so transform the archetype “strong, silent type” into “strong, noisy type.” Noisy in a good way: engaged, active, and living fully.
Our goal here is to reap the health and quality of life benefits of properly tending to our social needs, which is one of our defining features as human beings. Something that stood out to me in Hertz’s book is research indicating that loneliness increases cancer risk, and is the statistical equivalent of smoking fifteen cigarettes a day. As such, this is a bad habit we need to break.
Although there is no quick fix for loneliness, there are choices we can make to mitigate the risk. Here are a few suggestions to consider:
- Why not put down your handheld device, turn off your TV, and focus on the art of conversation? It is like an old friend.
- Why not invite a neighbor, colleague, friend, or family member out for a cup? Not only will they be pleased that you thought of them, they will also be reminded that there is no substitute for in-person, uninterrupted conversation.
- Remember that the second syllable in “iPhone” implies that it makes calls. So, once a day, why not surprise a different friend or family member with a catch-up call?
- It is as easy to cook for 2-3 people as it is to cook for yourself. Why not enjoy variety on both the plate and at the table a few times each week?
- Amazon will be fine without you. If you can “brick and mortar” shop, why not do so? Getting out and about has benefits, including enjoying new experiences and meeting new people.
- At the expense of redundancy, why not turn off all devices for an hour or more each day? Yes, all of them. Go for a walk, hit the gym, or get together with friends and family.
- Consciously reduce your levels of avoidable stress.
- Keep fit and have fun doing it.
- Prioritize and tend to the quality of your sleep.
This is simply a starter list for you to consider. What matters is that you consciously make choices that disintermediate technology from your social life, and you don’t ignore the risk of isolation in the modern world. Each day you are fighting the good fight against prostate cancer, and have earned the right to fully embrace and enjoy the life you are reclaiming, rebuilding, and renewing. Consistent, authentic social engagement will contribute to the virtuous cycle we want for you, so get a bit noisy, will you?
By the way, following that book club event, Monica and Johanna elected to make calls to a large swath of our customers to see how they were faring. The results were heartwarming and invaluable for both parties, so don’t be too surprised to receive such a call someday. And please answer it knowing that we appreciate you and what we are striving to achieve together.
All the Best,
David, Co-founder & CEO