The purpose of my Live Like it Matters Challenge is to inspire you and me to do something to make a positive difference in the lives of those around us, in the place around us, wherever we are. I want us to live on purpose.

The title of this post seems a contradiction then, because after all, we have to connect to make a difference. Every other challenge I’ve issued requires us to connect with others in some way and now my challenge is to disconnect.

I’m challenging you to disconnect from your phone, close your laptop, and unplug your other mobile devices so you can connect in a real way with real people. The people right around you. At home and work. The ball field, the park and the gym. School, the grocery store, church, and the bank. Put your phone down. Take the ear buds out, put the blue tooth device away, and smile at someone. Or even better, speak.

Connect. See. Listen.

I’m as guilty as anyone of being unaware of someone two feet away from me because I’m checking the stats of my blog, or looking at the latest headline from Relevant.

With all of our connectedness, we’re more disconnected from each other than ever. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, or Periscope will never fulfill our need for real connection……face to face, heart to heart connection.

The real deal. The kind with voice inflection and eye contact and touch and body language and all the other little nuances of real conversation. No emoji can convey all of that.

This week, for at least 2 hours a day – disconnect. If this seems absolutely impossible to you, then you need to take this challenge seriously. During your “disconnected” time, pay attention to those around you wherever you are. Watch and listen. Begin a conversation. Look at the person you’re talking with and give them your undivided attention.

Sometimes the best way to disconnect is to go someplace that has no service. I went to one of those places recently with my son, one of his friends and my youngest daughter. I connected with my son and daughter more during that 2 1/2 hour hike than I had in two weeks. No service meant we paid attention to each other. We reminisced and finished conversations and learned things about each other. Instead of seeing the latest photo on Instagram we saw several kinds of mushrooms and ferns.

But you don’t have to take a hike to disconnect. Just put the phone down.

And don’t check it for 2 hours.

In response to the Daily Post’s Hike.