After Reading This…You May Want To Unsubscribe
- October 1st, 2019
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If you’re a typical digital denizen, this blog post is probably just one among dozens of articles crowding your news feed. Your news feed, in turn, is likely just one among dozens of information sources vying for your attention.
Why I’m pointing this out is because attention is a resource, and when it’s over-extended, our quality and experience of life suffer. We struggle to maintain our focus, we start to forget things and we find ourselves in the middle of a Chaturanga Dandasana when our yoga teacher actually asked us to do an Ashtanga Namaskara.
Of course, it’s all too easy to blame the fact that we now live in the so-called “attention economy,” where the average human brain is subjected to a whopping 34 gigabytes of information per day from traditional, social and online media. While this sounds like the sort of thing that could spur an unprecedented growth in human potential, the opposite, in fact, has occurred.
For instance, Canadian researchers have discovered that since the mobile revolution began in 2000, the average attention span has dropped from 12 seconds to eight seconds. This means we’d lose in a staring contest with a goldfish since the goldfish’s attention span is nine seconds.
The good news is that we do have a choice and, by taking a bit of time and effort, we can preserve our precious attentional resources. Here are my suggestions:
- Clarify your intentions. Just like in our yoga and meditation practices, everything begins with an intention. In this case, when I say “clarify your intentions,” I mean getting clear about what you want to do with your life and who you want to be.
- Align your attention with your intentions. Once you’re clear about your intentions, use them as a filter for determining which things to pay attention to—especially the people, platforms and sites you follow on social and online media.
- Align your attention with your intentions. In case you missed my second suggestion above (because you were multi-tasking while reading this post or engaging in a staring contest with a goldfish) I’m saying it again. Drop all the information sources that don’t positively contribute to what you want to create with your life.
That last suggestion, by the way, applies to our White Space Wellness newsletter too. After reading this post, you might find that it makes sense to unsubscribe because we’re consuming attention that you could be devoting to other things that forward your life intentions. If that’s the case, we’d like to thank you for the time you’ve spent with us. And if that’s not the case, we’d be delighted if you stay on and join us in our explorations of how yoga and mindfulness can elevate the quality and experience of life.
Feeling victorious over the goldfish,
P.S. If quitting social media cold turkey doesn’t work for you, you can click here for a post on mindful social media practices that can actually make you happier. To paraphrase American Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön, we can use the poison as the antidote.
Photo courtesy of Delbert Pagayona.