We are living in the best and most opportune era human history has ever seen. Fortunately, unlike our ancestors, we are not facing challenges that are matters of life and death. So, what’s preventing us from focusing on things that are essential and truly add value and joy to our lives? Why we act against our better judgment and let distractions attenuate our will?
According to ancient philosophers, we humans are susceptible to distractions because we are flawed creatures. We easily get distracted by cell phones, emails, news, and social media, and find it difficult to focus on what’s really important. But if we want to express our genius and disrupt our fields, we must rise above our ordinary selves and learn to focus better. Only then we’ll able to make a lasting positive impact on this world.
Marcus Aurelius reminded himself, “Concentrate every minute like a Roman— like a man— on doing what’s in front of you with precise and genuine seriousness, tenderly, willingly, with justice. And on freeing yourself from all other distractions. Yes, you can— if you do everything as if it were the last thing you were doing in your life, and stop being aimless, stop letting your emotions override what your mind tells you, stop being hypocritical, self-centered, irritable.”
We are not inundated with incredible distractions and responsibilities that a Roman emperor had to endure. Still, why we let our emotions cloud our judgments? Why do we fail to protect our attention and engage in things that take us down the negative spiral?
Distractions keep us away from living the life that we desire and deserve. They are nothing but energy stealers that thwart our ability to prioritize.
If we want to elevate ourselves and our lives, and join the league of exceptionalists, we must respect our precious hours and use them wisely. We must view them as opportunities to do proper human work. We must conquer distractions that we encounter and focus on doing the right things.
It’s a battle between futility and purpose, between sleepwalking through life and doing work that matters. We can either surrender to distractions or focus on taking meaningful actions, we can’t do both.
Action or distraction — it’s ultimately a choice that you have to make, not once but each moment and each day of your life.