An attraction called distraction!

Your real competition is your distraction– Anonymous

 

If you are reading this, amidst your deep immersive work, you shouldn’t be. This would seem weird coming from the guy who sent you this in the first place.

 

The achilles heel of our times: Staying focused and distracted by a lot of ideas.

 

We are living through a crisis of distraction. Plans get sidetracked, friends are ignored, work never seems to get done. Why does it feel like we’re distracting our lives away?

 

Donuts taste great when we are eating them. But we feel like shit some time after. We get a bit of short-term pleasure and long-term pain.

 

The two primary motivators of changing our behavior are:

 

Avoiding pain &

 

Experiencing pleasure

 

All the attention management strategies in the world will not work unless we feel the pain and the opportunity cost of distractions.

 

If anything, the world is becoming a more distracting place. Technology is becoming more pervasive and persuasive.

 

We all suffer from the shiny object syndrome. The thrill of the chase. And the after glow.

 

Our biggest obstacle is fighting our addiction with social media and the mobile phone.

 

Wasting time online, ironically consuming content about how to be a more prolific, successful creator.

 

Digital distractions create somewhat of a paradox. We get to avoid the pain of focusing on something that matters to us. And the dopamine hits we get from checking our emails or scrolling through our Instagram | Facebook feeds. That gives us a lot of pleasure.

 

But that little boost of pleasure becomes painful when we realise that we’ve wasted time on something that prevents us from accomplishing our real goals.

 

It’s hard to change anything until our motivation is strong enough. Before we can deal with our addictions to distraction, it is important to uncover our motivations.

 

A donut called distraction.

 

ENDS

Attention Piece!

It is said that attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.

 

The poet J.D. McCatchy captured this essential fact beautifully in his observation that “love is the quality of attention we pay to things.”.

 

It’s a no brainer. Before we can create anything worthy of other people’s attention, we have to learn to manage ours.

 

Our world is the outcome of what we pay attention to. Period. Attention is the currency of achievement.

 

Being present is the best present we can give ourselves. And to others. There is a curious power in being present. When we are present, we see the other person more clearly. We communicate better. We make lasting connections.

 

Unfortunately, in our always on, go-go-go world, being  with someone who is fully present and therefore offering attention is rare.

 

Good work and great art comes from deep focus and deep work. Our ability to be prolific, create art that resonates, that strikes a chord , tug at the heartstrings and hit people in the face with a crowbar depends on our ability to focus.

 

Consider for a moment the kind of mental world we can construct when we dedicate significant time and attention to deep endeavors.

 

Attention, taken to its highest degree, is the same thing as prayer,” Simone Weil observed as she considered the relationship between attention and grace at the peak of her short life. “Attention without feeling,” Mary Oliver wrote a generation later in her beautiful elegy for her soul mate, “is only a report.

 

It’s hard to carve out time and space for work or art that matters if we’re always distracted by things don’t.

 

So, how much art have you made today?

 

I truly believe that everything that we do and everyone that we meet is put in our path for a purpose. There are no accidents; we’re all teachers – if we’re willing to pay attention to the lessons we learn, trust our positive instincts and not be afraid to take risks or wait for some miracle to come knocking at our door “. Marla Gibbs

 

ENDS

One Picasso A Day?

If one were to ask what is the most loyal thing in the world, it would be the ‘ bodyclock‘. Time after time, day after day, it never lets you down in waking us up. I guess, that too, is a creature of habit.
 
Being an old schooler, waking up and writing down the ‘ to do task list ‘ of the day is de rigueur. And on the rare occasion, the list falls shy of occupying a full A4 page, disappointment gets writ large. After all, ‘ Men are from Mars ‘. And Machiavellian abilities for Herculean tasks are expected to go hand in hand. How remiss!!
We have been hardwired to think that working is productivity. But, is productivity working? After all, the map is not the territory. Nor is noise, the signal.
 
Distraction is the only constant “. How things have changedIn an on-demand, 24/7 society, where distractions cost millions of people relationships, health , peace, productivity and profitability, it’s time to pay attention to what matters most.
We are living through a crisis of distraction. Plans get sidetracked, family and friends are ignored, work never seems to get done. And that in the wake of first love and passion being firmly put long ago on the back burner, be it music or sport, travel or discovery, reading or writing..not worth it.
To create extraordinary lives, we can (re)learn to “unplug” from the constant barrage of disruptions and “plug in” to the tools, strategies, and mindsets that will allow us to harness our attention to reach our highest potential. 
You sit down at your desk to work on an important project, but a notification on your phone interrupts your morning. At home, screens get in the way of quality time with your family. Another day goes by, and once again, your most important personal and professional goals are put on hold. Story of our distraction fueled, notification driven lives.
 
If we can prepare ourselves to be as indistractable as possible, zero in on distilling the vital few from the trivial many, and be prepared to look in the ugly mirror, we can stop running on the treadmill of mediocrity. Not just that. With high focus, extreme prioritization and unflappable emotional labour, we can all get to producing our ‘ one Picasso for the day .’ What do you uniquely do that matters the most? After all, you can only do one thing really well at a time. SIP by SIP. Engage in some Mutual Fun!
Most big, deeply satisfying accomplishments in life take at least a few years to achieve. This can include cultivating a loving relationship, writing a book, getting in the best shape of your life, raising a family, building a business, and more. A few years is a long time. It is much slower than most of us would like. If you accept the reality of slow progress, you have every reason to take action today. If you resist the reality of slow progress, five years from now you’ll simply be five years older and still looking for a shortcut.
 
Where’s your paint brush? The canvas and the easel awaits. And your version of the Guernica.
So, time to offer a serenade to life, in all its terrifying and transcendent uncertainty, sung in ink, watercolor, and wonder.