Back when I wrote the Focus on Focus post I was in a fairly focused state of mind to begin with. I had been productive at work, and focus on focus was really the next level – something to help me notice when I was veering off.
Since then, as I have recently stated, I have fallen increasingly off the wagon. I have become similar to most people in today’s world – my life is not only dominated by constant, endless distraction and short attention span – we actually start to actively crave it.
When you fall deep into this state of mind, focus on focus kind of methods are simply beyond your reach. You start doing something like work, and after only a brief moment of it you habitually start seeking distraction. Okay, can I check Facebook? Maybe I have gotten a new mail, or maybe I should check if there is any football news. It is like a clockwork – you get that craving constantly. It is truly an addiction of distraction.
It is so easy to succumb to it as well. Facebook and smartphones heavily stack the odds against you. But hell, you don’t even need those. All that is needed is that you have anything unrelated to work open that you can quickly glance, whether it is some website you are reading, a book, folder of vacation photos, whatever. Anything that gives you your fix of distraction. Double points if you can lie to yourself that it is actually good – like reading a book or something.
It is not that reading a book is bad, it can indeed be good and it definitely is much healthier to get distracted to an informative book than to useless social media feed, but the condition itself is still present. You are not in control, you are still feeding the addiction to distraction. Sure, if we have to get distracted, it is much better to get distracted to semi-productive things, but ideally to get where you want to go in life you have to employ some intense focus.
So this addiction is something we have to start treating to become awesome. Given we are all distraction junkies, it is probably a fact that none of us will be ever completely clean again, especially in a world that is full of what we crave, but we can become better.
First step is simply starting to notice that this thing exists, and here is where this ties nicely with focus on focus post. It is a similar mental process.
Close off all the distractions. Leave nothing on that could distract you from what you have done. This is really the only way you even have a chance. Start doing whatever it is that you have to do. I don’t care if its homework, work project, some menial task that you have to do, anything goes as long as it is important and doing it doesn’t just naturally flow out of you. If it does, well even then you might notice when you get distracted.
As soon as you start doing it, you might indeed have some focused time at first, but eventually the craving for distraction comes. You really don’t notice it during day-to-day life, because you always have a handy distraction to immediately satisfy the craving. But when you do everything you can to remove the distractions, all the sudden the craving is there and there is nothing to satisfy it – not at least the things it is used to. That makes it easy to identify – oh shit it is true, I am WANTING to be distracted. You crave for it, you need the fix. Only by training you back into ignoring the craving is the way you can treat the impulse.
But it never will be fully gone. I wrote the Focus on Focus post a good while ago. I had good focus then, at least compared to what I have now. But as with any addiction, you can fall off the wagon and then you have to clean up your act again.
Achieving success, however you might define it, is easier than ever before. Want money? There is so much wealth in the world you don’t have to work nearly as hard as 100 years ago to accumulate comfortable wealth. Emotional satisfaction? Life is generally easy so if you just master your emotions, you can be happy as well easier than before. Really the key thing to anything like that is gonna be this ongoing battle against distraction in this increasingly clickbait-filled world. The problem is that losing this battle is often more gratifying on the short-term.
Meditation really is the ultimate distraction addiction cure. Meditation is all about doing nothing and not getting distracted, and when you are attempting to do and thing nothing, literally everything becomes a distraction from it. Aside that, anything can be an active meditation.
Drop me a line below as to how you deal with your Addiction of Distraction.