The humanity of rest will always overcome the lure of efficiency

A few weeks ago, my family took a trek down to the beaches of the Gulf Coast of Florida. My inlaws bought a modest cottage there in the 90s that became the gathering place for family and friends for years to come … until what is now known ubiquitously as “30A” became a posh destination for upscale beach adventures. 

The sleepy beach town with emerald waters and white sands has transformed into a pristine,  instagrammable destination for those seeking a glamorous vacation. My husband and I enjoyed the tail end of the quieter days of 30A for our honeymoon in 2012 and mournfully said goodbye to that part of the world when the home was finally sold to make way for the new wave of high-end vacationers. 

We rented an “Old Florida” style home like the one our family used to own to revisit some of these family memories. It is now sandwiched between megalithic structures that hold upwards of 40 people and house influencers and B-level celebrities (for real, our neighbor was an Amazing Race star). 

I went for a run that first day of vacation and my Apple Watch did its sing-song dance of praise to congratulate me for exceeding my exercise goals and hitting that milestone it loves of reaching some arbitrary target.

The next day, I rested. I was tired from travel and catching the latest daycare bug my kids brought home from school. And yet. Midway through the morning, my watch buzzed. “Your exercise ring is low and you are one workout away from a seven workout week. There is still time to meet your goals.” 

I thought about that – how my body needed to rest. How I already had exercised for six days straight in some form or fashion. How my post-partum worlds both times involved me actually taking off the damn thing because it kept nudging me to move when my body clearly needed to recover from the physical trauma of giving birth. 

But the technology on my wrist was telling me to keep going. 

I started thinking about this through the lens of technology and artificial intelligence, which clearly is a trend we have been continuing to ponder at TealHaus. My watch may be smart enough to track my exercise, help me set goals, and track my standing–maybe even my heart rate and oxygen saturation. But is it really helping me if it doesn’t consider the big overall picture of what I need? Which in this particular case is rest? 

Technology tends to push us to go harder, faster, and be more efficient. Find productivity. Do something faster that took you twice as long last time. 

Sure, there are rest-specific apps for mindfulness, meditation, and breathing. But they aren’t mainstreaming in with the rat race of achievement and productivity in a manner that is helping us be our better selves. 

In more ways, it feels like my Apple Watch is just trying to push and push me to perform at my highest level. I want to be able to tell it – “I didn’t sleep well last night, let’s adjust my goals to focus on resting and a lower heart rate.” Or, “I just had a baby, can you change to a track of checking in on my mental state and reminding me to text a dear friend to make a connection when I am struggling?”

If AI is as complicated as it seems, why can’t we build algorithms that offer that kind of holistic approach to something like the Apple Rings? 

In my gut, I think it is because the humans behind the creation of this technology aren’t concerned about that. They are more interested in building something that transforms technology to supersede what has been human-dependent tasks. 

This is just another reminder of why human influence must work hand in hand with AI. We are not robots who function unendingly–we need to take care of our health, our souls, and our bodies. 

And when we are talking about the important task of storytelling for our clients, the same rubric holds true. Our clients are humans…selling products and services to other humans. The human influence must be present to make those soul-driven decisions that sometimes are based on zero fact at all. 

That’s what we are doing here at TealHaus. Technology may tell us to run harder, faster, or in a direction based on empirical data. But, our hearts and minds are running the show. We are using our unique giftings to make a meaningful difference in the lives of the people we impact and serve every day. 

That’s why our core values are Empathy, Curiosity, and Humility. And it is how we are always going to operate.

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