How much more time are you going to spend with the people you care about? Our time is limited and so are the opportunities to spend it with the people who are dear to us. Ouch! An algorithm that can change your attitude to life.
Think about it for a moment: How often do you see your friends or this buddy you used to meet every other Friday? Or your cousin, who was your confidante? And how often do you see your parents or children, even if they live abroad? Are you with them as often as you wish? I recently received a photo from my 24-year-old son via WhatsApp. The photo showed the number 74. Underneath, he wrote “74 days and 8 hours. That is unacceptable! We have to do something about it! We need to see more of each other.” Then he called me and I was hardly able to speak at first…
My son lives in Copenhagen, I live in Cologne. Thanks to modern communication technologies and the Internet, we are always in touch. It just takes a few clicks of the mouse or some taps of the finger to know at all times what we are doing and how we are doing. That’s how we communicate almost daily. But we lack the closeness and the beauty of being together. The same applies to my family or best friends who live in Spain. I lived there until six years ago.
After talking to me on the phone, my son sent me the link to the four-minute video of the Spanish spirits brand Ruavieja. This powerful Christmas campaign entitled “We need to see more of each other” definitely invites you to reflect. After just two days, the viral video reached over seven million viewers. Leo Burnett Madrid is the advertising agency behind the idea: You can now calculate the expected time you will spend with the people who are important to you. According to this calculator, I can expect to see my son 74 days and 8 hours for the rest of my life. That’s sobering.
Can a number change your life?
The best ideas are those that are able to change behavior and sometimes even the attitude to life. That is the message and the goal of creative director Juan García-Escudero. The video shows the reactions of different real people to a number – the estimated amount of time they will spend with their loved ones. The distressing result: Statistically, there are only days left.
All participants agreed: “That is unacceptable. I was expecting it to be years. We need to change something.” Some of them were shocked and burst into tears, because the numbers were really low and far from their expectations: they ranged between 6 and 91 days.
The video is about people who have not seen each other for a long time and now get together. They tell us how they got to know each other, what they mean to each other, how often they see each other, their age and their place of residence. These data are compared with the official data of the Spanish National Statistical Office (INE). The final result takes into account both variations in people’s life expectancy based on gender, place of residence and year of birth and possible variations in their behavior over the years according to their relationship with the other person (family, friend, partner, etc.). Since this is a prediction, the result will of course always be an approximate one and will in no way reflect an absolute truth.
The distribution of our time does not correspond to our true priorities
Most of us say that family and friends are the most important thing for them, but how we allocate our time does not correspond to that at all. “This has to do with the way our brain works,” says Rafael Santandreu, a psychologist involved in this project: “We are programmed not to think about how much time we have left to live. This is why we constantly feel that we will have enough opportunities to do what makes us happy.” So we very often use trivial excuses like “I don’t have time” or “I’m too tired to drive that far”, etc. We lose ourselves in the hustle and bustle of everyday life and the performance demands of our time.
Statistically speaking, mobile phone use has tripled in the last six years, and we use audiovisual content more than ever. Over the next 40 years, we will supposedly spend 520 days watching TV series, another six years watching other TV, eight years surfing the Internet and ten years staring at screens. Quickly checking emails – and possibly answering them immediately while waiting at the checkout when shopping. Or scrolling through Amazon offers while walking the dog, although you really do not need any of it. Or skyping with friends at the other end of the world and at the same time handing out likes to Facebook friends before going to sleep. Our degree of networking allows us to differentiate less and less between what is important and what is unimportant. This constant sending, posting, tweeting, chatting takes us away from our real needs or true, honest, real priorities, such as enjoying our favorite drink, relaxing or chatting with a friend. As the number of digital contacts increases, perhaps relationships become less profound and close after all. Psychologists are already talking about the age of loss of self or alienation.
For anyone who wants to try this algorithm out for themselves and possibly reflect on how valuable relationships really are: https://tenemosquevernosmas.ruavieja.es/en/ (Available in Spanish and English).
I wish you all a merry and reflective Christmas season with many beautiful personal conversations with your family and friends.