In his book, Zero to One, Peter Thiel writes about the power of complements as it relates to man and computers, equally chastising Luddites and futurists for condemning technology or readily ceding control to technology, respectively. He argues that machines complement the work of humans and that any downsides from technological advancement are ultimately chosen by humans rather than forced upon them.
These complementary relationships exist everywhere. A politician takes action on behalf of a population that ultimately holds the figurehead accountable. A well thought out diet plan complements any good fitness routine. Peanut butter goes great with strawberry jam. It’s the balance that helps us take advantage of everything available.
Keeping your phone on you during a run, ride, or workout can complement whatever you’re trying to accomplish. Like Thiel argues, the technology of a smartphone can serve as a distraction if we allow it. If we choose for it not to be distraction, however, a phone can be the source of music we crave, a tool to map our runs, or simply our lifeline in an emergency.