After years of unintentional, involuntary and, probably, inevitable practice, I have developed a disappointingly short attention span. They say that is the fairly universal truth of the modern world but I would have hoped to hold out longer than I have. I read headlines without delving further, can take in only a few pages of a book before getting distracted and rarely watch anything on the television that requires more than a cursory investment.
I received an email (I skimmed the majority of it) from a workplace guru that I follow called Chris Brogan who spoke of people’s desire, or need perhaps, for ‘just the facts’. Stories and elaboration lose people. The current mode in articles, blogs, seminars and the like, is to cut straight to the chase, hit the guts right from the off . Newspapers have been doing it for years with their clipped paragraphs and carefully structured format of material of descending importance. The rest of the world is simply catching up.
When it is necessary, I can still focus but it does require a discipline that perhaps it shouldn’t. I tend to ‘psych up’ before and rest afterwards. Remember, this is activity that used to come naturally and now requires intellectual wrangling to get into that space.
I imagine that if twenty-first century habits have been cemented by repetition then it could be possible, through concerted effort, to reverse the rot. A deliberate program of gradual extension of involvement in each activity will probably do the trick. I could get lost in a book again, watch a movie or paint all day.
But maybe tomorrow. I seem to have lost my enthusiasm!
One thought on “I’m sorry. I drifted off.”
and further more, I wonder, has our collective sub-conscience come to ostracize, condemn, radicalize and isolate those who DON’T DRIFT OFF, who are hard wired to get in intensive, long zones for “flow”, by way of a sort of societal anosognosia? Are we missing out by not knowing these people personally, welcoming their habits and seeing them as anchors of a world in chaos? If you’re not sure, just crack the old best seller
“Flow: The Psycology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi” … and try getting through it [bet you a buck you don’t, but read the summary, or his next book or …. !
You’re so right, it’s all a bit much & I’m thirsty, there’s a meeting in a bit, my floor needs mopped, the trash taken out and Grandma needs a FaceTime and the car windshield a wipe, and gosh, the phone needs to go on the charger and … reheated dinner, anyone?
I’m respectfully submitting that you’re onto something big, and possibly it might also help us all to try to:
* create unplugged consecutive days, weekly
* begin journalling mentally, and maybe even literally, about what it is that those who have flow are doing: not the nature of their work, per say, but the who, what, why, where, when, how, how much, how many, if then … and because … of their days and note when ever we too, do that stuff & how our environment reacts back to us: I’m thinking it’s gonna feel awkward and foreign at best,
but for now, I’m returning you your stellar thought of:
* A deliberate program of gradual extension of involvement in each activity will probably do the trick & I’m just doing thinking about doing cartwheels to distract myself from getting started 🙂