Turn down your iPod, turn up your connections Vail Valley | VailDaily.com

Turn down your iPod, turn up your connections Vail Valley

VAIL, Colorado ” Technology is awesome! We in Vail, Colorado can now download music to our iPods, cell phones, and MP3 Players and then plug that device into a helmet so we can cruise the slopes or snowshoe while listening to our favorite tunes.

The other day while riding the chairlift as a single, I had my iPod on, as did the couple I was riding the chairlift with. They were a married couple and both had their own music happening inside their helmets.

As I sat on the chair thinking how ridiculous the three of us were, I decided to shut my player off and try and start a conversation. We were headed up the Strawberry Park chair so we had plenty of time.

As I initiated the conversation the woman to my left turned down her music and returned the greeting. We quickly started a conversation about where they were from and how they were enjoying the mountain. It turns out they were here from New York and were having a great time in Beaver Creek. Her husband joined the conversation and they were soon asking me more about the shops and restaurants and even a quick conversation about real estate.

Before we finished the ride to the top I was able to provide some advice about dinner and where I thought they should dine while they were still in town. They were extremely grateful and even invited me to make a few turns with them.

Had we all left our iPods on, that conversation would have never taken place. How many great people are you missing out on by staying plugged into your iPod instead of tuning into the other people on the mountain, in the village, the seat next to you on the airplane, or wherever you have a chance to meet and greet new people?

I noticed the same thing in the gym that evening. Everyone was plugged into the TV on their treadmill or they had an iPod on while in the weight room. Not long ago I used to love going to the gym and having conversations about football, current events, the stock market, or just bad jokes and taking cheap shots with the other folks in the gym. Now we are all isolationists, paying attention to our own little world.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m keeping my iPod ” I will just be using a little more discretion when using it. If we all turned down our music just a little bit and made it a point to communicate more with the people around us, we might just find we can make a few new friends, provide a guest with some local tips, be able to ask someone for a spot in the gym without disrupting their music, hear a few new jokes, and maybe just make someone’s day.

As awesome as technology is, let’s make sure we don’t hide behind it. Let’s use it to be efficient and have fun, while maintaining a personal touch through the old-fashioned power of conversation. You can communicate with me anytime at msnorton@comcast.net, but I look forward to talking to you in person. Who knows, maybe we will share a chairlift ride one day.

Michael Norton writes weekly about positive thinking for business and life. He can be reached at msnorton@comcast.net.

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