There’s no doubt we live in amazing times. The power we have at our fingertips, literally through cell phones, computers, and any number of electronic devices is mind blowing.
We also live in incredibly noisy, busy, speedy, confusing, and above all, distracting times. I could blame my lack of ability to walk into another room without any recollection of why I did so on any number of midlife maladies. But it could also have something to do with the number of things that beep, vibrate, whistle, or flash at me before I get where I’m going that cause me to I lose my way.
Admittedly, I may have a short little span of attention. But it does seem as if these weapons of mass distraction that were conceived to bring about law and order in our lives, create chaos in mine.
Finding them is the first challenge. Discovering they are out juice when I need them is another. And dealing with the outrage I incur when I fail to respond immediately to others provides even more grounds for disgruntlement.
I’m not knocking technology. I’m just as excited as the next person to learn about the latest and greatest gadgets and get my hands on them if it doesn’t cost me an arm and a leg or take more time to master than I may have left to live.
My issue is when all this technology competes for my attention to the point where I’m unable to focus on anything for more than a minute before being interrupted. I suspect it was the makers of ADD meds that came up with the idea to run messages and pop up characters along the bottom of the tv screen alerting viewers to what’s coming up in two minutes. Like the suspense is going to kill us?
What happened to being here now and fully enjoying the moment? Just because I can multitask does not mean I want to do so when I’m watching tv, or reading a blog (so I’m not going to link to anything in this particular piece that might tempt you to leave), or eating a thoughtfully prepared meal.
One of the best presents we can give another person is our presence. I understand it’s hard to sit quietly or wait patiently when our phone is within reach and ready to entertain. But ideas need breathing space. Innovation requires incubation. If I can’t have a time out during some part of my day to think about my behavior, I go a bit batty.
My goal is not to stop using the incredible tools at my fingertips but to create more than I consume. In the past 28 days I’ve learned just how challenging that is. I’ve also learned how rewarding it can be to contribute almost as much as I consume.
It turns out the answer to many of my problems has literally been at my fingertips. By combining the technology on the one hand with writing and creating on the other, I might be able to convert my weapons of mass distraction to weapons of mass creation.
What about you? What answers do you hold in your hands?