If You Are Distracted, You Are Probably To Blame

I often complain about life’s little distractions; things like Facebook and a too-long to-do list and too many people to keep up with on more than a cursory level.  But here’s the problem with that: almost all of my distractions are my fault.

In almost every case, I have a choice as to what I give my attention to.  So if I’m distracted, then I’m to blame for not taking full responsibility for my life and choosing wisely, actively, consistently, where my attention goes rather than letting it drift passively from one shiny, noisy thing to the next.  This reality could be represented this way:

Distraction = Not taking responsibility for my attention.

Conversely, I could say:

Focus = Taking full responsibility for my attention.

Of course there are those of us genuinely plagued by things like Attention Deficit Disorder.  We may need extra help, manufactured or otherwise, to give us the chemical or emotional stability needed to choose wisely.  Nothing wrong with that.

But if we qualify as a self-aware person, then we have to admit our attention is our responsibility.  (If meds are needed to help us with that, then we still must choose whether or not to use them).

What tasks, people, objects, or feelings will you give your attention to today?  Are each of those tasks, people, objects, or feelings really worthy of your attention?  It might be helpful to make a list of the stuff that fills up your mind and take a good look at what’s actually there.

We’ve all got a finite amount of time, energy, and resources.  I want to use mine to attend to things that matter most.

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About jesserice

Speaker | Author | Digital Culture Expert | Sit-Down Comedian

Posted on January 4, 2012, in Facebook, humanity vs. technology, lifestyle, relationships and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Good words, don’t like them but still very true words. Thank you for the reminder.

  2. The concept of a sabbath (perhaps instead of an outright ban) from the things you find distracting seems to be gaining momentum as well: http://mobile.nytimes.com/article?a=887478&single=1&f=28

  3. Our pastor talked about something similar to this on Sunday. The sermon was talking about focusing on the one thing you must do for the new year – stopping a bad habit, ending a relationship, mending a relationship, etc. He talked about not letting anything distract you from doing this one thing. The passage was in Nehemiah and talked about how Nehemiah was rebuilding the wall and the king’s men tried to get him to come down so they could actually kill him. Nehemiah told them he was doing a good work and he could not stop until it was complete. A great reminder for the new year!

  1. Pingback: Who holds the keys to weapons of mass distraction? – The Rest Project

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