There she was, walking along in the mall, focused on the cell phone in her hand. The security camera was watching as she approached the area of the fountain and the pool filled with water. Other shoppers were in the area but they too were focused – on where they were walking. In the background were storefronts, with people entering and exiting the shops. It was a normal mall scene.

Then an amazing thing happened. The young lady, cell phone in hand, walked into the small ledge surrounding the pool, tripped and fell head first into the water. Without a moment’s hesitation, she stood up and walked out of the water and continued on her journey through the mall.

Everywhere you look these days people of all ages seem to have their heads buried in their electronic devices. Walking through the mall, driving in their vehicles, at family gatherings, in the workplace, in school – it seems technology is controlling us rather than empowering us. Is it?

Abilene Christian University began a research project about a year ago to determine ways that the iPhone and iTouch, in conjunction with an extensive resource network, might enhance students’ educational experiences. Response to the project has been positive. New tools are being provided to the students and the learning environment is being transformed.

Other educational institutions have been using the Internet as a learning tool for several years. All of us who are teaching and coaching are finding our way through the continuous waves of technological advancements as we try to avoid drowning in the volume of products reaching our desktops. Technology is certainly occupying a lot of our time but it is not controlling most of us. Is technology empowering us to learn more and do more? Absolutely it is. All I have to do is look at my granddaughters and the amazing things they are accomplishing before they are through elementary school to evidence that.

One of the best things we can do for our teens and our young adults is to encourage them to build strong face-to-face friendships. At some point they will have to lift their heads out of the digital world into the real world and communicate with real people.

I encourage my young friends to consider adopting these 10 principles for a happy and productive life, one filled with meaningful person-to-person communication:

1.Respect People.
Every person you will see has a story, just like you do. Get to know as much as people want to share of their stories. When you know something about a person, it is easier to build a relationship. Make friends, not enemies. Set a good example for people to follow.
2. Master Silent Communication.
Outfluence is a communication model. 70% of all communication is silent. Visit www.outfluence.com often to learn why it is important to use your silence thoughtfully, purposefully, and sincerely.
3. Learn.
Learning opens the door to opportunity and turns hope into reality. The more you learn the more valuable you become to more people. Create your opportunities; you control how many you have to choose from.
4. Serve Others.
Every time you meet another person, focus on encouraging, listening to, or serving him. Always remember that you will get back whatever you give to the world. Give of yourself freely, without expectation.
5. Small Stuff Matters.
Pay attention to the little things. Write thank you notes when people do nice things for you. Also write notes to friends when they accomplish something special. Be courteous to people. People appreciate these things, even if they never acknowledge them, and your kindness makes you memorable. You will notice it in how they treat you.
6. Believe in Yourself.
You can do anything that you want to if you believe in yourself. Do not let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. Think for yourself. Be a leader, not a follower. Keep on moving forward toward your goals. Overcome fear by taking action.
7. Make Wise Decisions.
Don’t be afraid to try. It is okay to make mistakes, but consider decisions carefully. Find a mentor, a person that you respect, to help you make decisions. You can recover from everything except death. When you fail, “stop” before proceeding again, “look” at what caused your failure, and “listen” to your inner voice. Your inner voice must affirm your belief in yourself. Remember, failure is temporary. Failure stops when you begin again.
8. Attract Positive People.
You’ll want to make friends with people who begin a relationship with a great and sincere smile and who make eye contact with you. These silent communicators tell you that a person has a good self-image. A good self-image is an indicator of a positive and a successful person. As the relationship builds you will confirm the truth about the person. Keep in mind—what’s the best way for someone to get that message about you? Absolutely – greet everyone with good eye contact and a sincere smile.
9. Understand Consequences.
Every decision in your life carries with it a consequence for you and often for others. Take time to consider important decisions. Fight the urge to make quick emotional decisions. They are usually bad decisions. Think before you make a decision, just as you think before you speak.
10. Work Hard.
Be prepared to work very hard to succeed. There is not a quick path to achieving your goals. Hard work makes you feel good about yourself. It gives you a sense of accomplishment. Hard work is one way that you contribute to your community, and it’s how you build your own life.

Author's Bio: 

Outfluence, LLC is a publishing and teaching organization dedicated to improving communication and performance in business and personal relationships. Additional information can acquired by visiting www.outfluence.com.