Why do we call back numbers who don’t leave a voicemail?
I made a telephone call recently and when I got an answering machine, I realized I’d dialed the wrong number. I hung up, dialed correctly, and had a great conversation. About 20 minutes later, the phone rang and a woman asked: “Did you call 615-202-xxxx?” I explained that I had realized my mistake when I heard her answering machine and hung up. She then hung up on me.
I’ve come up with three reasons why we call back unknown numbers:
1) In our information deluged society, we fear we’ve missed something important, so we call back to make sure we are ‘in the loop”.
2) Curiosity gets the better of us.
3) We can’t stand not knowing who tried to call us.
I’ve made a commitment not to call back numbers that don’t leave a message. If it was important, they’ll make sure they connect with me. Why do you think we have this compulsion to return phone calls when they don’t leave a message and we have no idea who they were?
The other day I was heading to an all day session with the National Speakers Association, and I realized about two miles from my home that I had forgotten my Smartphone. I was running too late to go back and get it, so I just went on. Something profound happened that day – I experienced freedom. It was delightful to drive and not also be talking or thinking about who I needed to call. I just enjoyed the day – unplugged and free.
In 2003, the University of Utah did a study comparing drunk drivers to cell phone users. We weren’t texting then like we do today, so this was just talking on the phone. They gave the alcohol group enough orange juice and 40% vodka to reach .08 BAC and then had them drive a course in a simulator. They had cell phone users – with no alcohol – do the same. You guessed it. The cell phone users had greater impairment than those who were drunk – even with a head set. They had more accidents than the baseline drivers or the drunk drivers.
Distraction is a terrible thing. Whether distracted in work, in driving, or in faith, losing our focus is dangerous – for ourselves and others. Distracted workers make mistakes more, distracted drivers crash more, and distracted believers sin more. So unplug that Smartphone while you drive, turn off your email reminder, and experience freedom. It will change your life. It may also save your life!
Share your plugged and distracted stories!