It seems in modern times with social media, Netflix, YouTube, video games, phones, etc– we are distracting ourselves to death.
We are so afraid of being with ourselves, and striving towards an Uber-epic goal or aim in life that we endlessly distract ourselves.
Also the other ill:
Modern life is constructed in a way to distract us (often without us even knowing about it).
To not get distracted takes skill, knowledge, and practice
I think I probably am MORE easily distracted than others. For me to focus, I need to ruthlessly prune all distractions from my life– and it takes me probably at least a week of ruthlessly cutting distractions for me to get into a more calm, focused, and powerful ‘zen zone’. If I were in elementary school today, my college-educated parents would probably have me on at least 5 different prescription ‘focus’ drugs (which I consider a crime against humanity).
Consider– everything in modern society is designed to distract you. Advertisements, notifications on your phone, email, social media, YouTube, consumerism-marketing, music, podcasts, radio, TV, movies, etc.
What is the downside of all this? This media is weakening us, disempowering us, and not allowing us to concentrate and focus our attention in order to do what is most essential —
Passive or active?
The problem with most media and distractions are that they make us passive. Of course there are certain media and ‘distractions’ which actually empower us, encourage us, motivate us, inspire us, and give us wings.
However once again, consider that modern society doesn’t want us to question, revolt, or go against the grain. I feel that in the world (so far) America is the least bad country/set of morals/ethics (in terms of individualism and encouragement to think, be, and act different). Much of America’s morals/ethics are still rooted in Protestantism-Christian and Quaker-Victorian-ethics, which tell us to be calm, collected, to obey, to not question, and to be meek/humble. But still, I remember as a kid growing up in the public education system in California being encouraged to think differently, act differently, and to pursue my own dreams and goals in life (even though I often acted out in class, and was punished accordingly).
Thank you umma (mom)
What made no sense growing up in America was this:
You are encouraged to think and act differently, but in reality– whenever you go against the grain, you are punished.
This is horrible. Even worse, I am Korean-American, and Korean culture teaches us:
Listen to your parents, teachers, and obey authority. Your individualism is evil and selfish (another word for evil). The collective and family is more important than you, and your petty homes, dreams, and ambitions.
However in the midst of all this craziness, I am fortunate to have had my mom– the most essential individual who formed me. While she was a ‘typical Korean-Asian’ mom in many ways– she insanely liberal, open-minded, and encouraging. She encouraged me to pursue my passions, and told me that she would support me no matter what. I love you umma — thank you for everything. I couldn’t have become who I am without you.
Your focus is your #1 most essential gift
Don’t sell your attention and focus for cheap.
Prize your attention, calm, zen-stoic focus. Never trade it for anything!