[This three-part essay is an excerpt from my book, The Way of The Karma Yogi.]
We live in an amazing time of opportunities that humanity has never seen before. But this is also a time when we have infinite distractions everywhere we go. There are some that we are aware of, and some that we’re totally unaware of because our brain doesn’t even recognize them as distractions. They take our priceless attention and distract us from all the important things we need to focus on. Distractions, no matter how big or small they are, are stealers and killers of happiness, focus and clarity and it’s in our best interest to get rid of them. The sooner we start, the quicker our brain will rewire.
Patience is one of the most important virtues that we all need to cultivate. But as previously discussed, the fast culture today has made us humans creatures of impatience that are hungry for self-gratification at a lightning speed. Distractions give us a short-lived peak of pleasure and are short-term, but patience and focus give us a sense of joy that lasts long providing us with an incomparable satisfaction.
With the omnipresence of the Internet and its power, there are a countless number of people vying for our attention and trying to sell their products and services to us. In his TED Talk, Cal Newport mentions how social media companies now employ people designated as ‘Attention Engineers’; their primary job is to develop strategies so that the companies can get better at attracting and driving people’s attention to their websites and apps.
Products are being designed in ways that foster our addiction towards them. The human brain is being exploited and the danger is real. Truth be told, this is not going to end anytime soon. And it becomes our responsibility to educate ourselves and others of all the attention seeking land mines that companies set up for us by exploiting our psychology and current technology.
Rather than falling prey to the selfish motives of these digital giants, we can start using the Internet and other technological tools for our benefit. We can leverage technology to feed our brain with positive information and timeless wisdom instead. It’s a choice that we have to make!
It is up to us to take the power back in our hands. The quickest way to do that is to be mindful of where we focus our attention to. We are living in times where it is important for us to protect our minds. Because of all the noise and distractions, our attention has become priceless for everyone. Rather than becoming a pawn to someone else’s vision, we need to start paying more attention to things that make us and our lives better.