At first watch, you could almost end the above commercial from Apple with a tear. What you thought was a selfish waste of teenage time turned into a heartwarming Christmas present. How sweet.
But look a little deeper.
To create this video, this young man missed out on interacting with his family (which we might suppose he doesn’t see all that often). Very possibly he missed hours of fun, connection, feelings, memories.
He missed being with (mentally, not physically) his grandparents, getting to know them, their stories and building a bond with them. He missed helping his little sister, showing her the love he has for her. In time, she won’t remember (or possibly even see) the video, but she will remember the time her brother spent with her and how much he loved her.
Don’t give up the good for the great. If you have to pick between the two, it is better to create experiences than to only record them. The wedding photographer is working hard and doesn’t experience the beauty of feelings of a wedding because he is busy recording it. I have seen fathers live their lives behind a camera, taking pictures or video, recording their kids growing up and missing the growing up years entirely.
The title of the commercial is “Misunderstood.” I believe what was misunderstood was the importance of experiencing.
At the same time I don’t want to belittle the importance of recording. Whether it be a diary, a text, or a video. It should not interfere with the overall experience, however.
So at it’s core, that is the personal message.
Apply this to the workplace. I have seen companies which are obsessive about documenting everything. And, depending upon the industry, it may be necessary. They keep the records for ever, JUST IN CASE they are ever needed again. But too often it is done to the detriment of doing work. It gets in the way of productivity and actually makes it more difficult to do the work.
If you want to have an engaged workforce, help them to create experiences and then allow them to share them.
This is why I am a fan of working out loud. It is possible to experience and record at the same time – to have more of a healthy balance. It is difficult to strike this balance, but a worthy goal to strive for.