The cost of distraction
What is distraction? Some will jump on the internet to find out what it means – searching for some guru to tell um. I’ve not even looked on the internet. For me it means losing attentional focus on things of importance. Nope – I’m not going to define each word in the last sentence! Nothing in this post refers to any identifiable individual.
People who are distracted actually tend to boast about what distracts them. Why do you think FACEBOOK exists? In Eng-uh-land it’s fine to openly declare lack of focus, being wrecked on a weekend or how much time one spent going to this or that event. The people who do this openly prioritise such activities over what is of near-term importance to them. And they find a forgiving supportive crowd of friends (who are idiots) to support them i.e. thumbs ups etc and ‘go girl’ remarks.
The distracted often make certain statements:
- I need to sort out my shit – I know this.
- Life’s too short.
- At least I don’t have OCD.
- I’m not very clever.
- A holiday is my priority right now.
- I don’t like to-do lists. I need a to-do list for my to-do lists!
- I love reading books!
The above is not a full list – but whatever the list of such statements, people in their circles actually support them. Oh – and in Eng-uh-land – everybody needs to be supportive, else they’re unhelpful!
To return to the ‘cost of distraction’, what’s this cost? There are tangible and non-tangible elements.
- Lack of progress in career or personal development.
- Lower wages or even living near the breadline.
- Mis-allocation of spending on some of the non-tangibles e.g. holidays, drink, food, social life – blah blah.
- Personal suffering e.g. psychological sequelae of low socioeconomic status.
- Lower self-esteem and confidence.
- Maintenance of social circles that perpetuate the status quo for the individual.
Some will argue that the non-tangible are actually tangible. I’m not into a debate. Earnings, careers and money are usually more tangible than things in the psycho-social domains. Others will argue that ‘distraction’ has therapeutic value. Am I talking about therapy here?
- Various entertainment events e.g. shows, Netflix, movies etc
- Junk on the internet e.g. Facebook and other social media platforms.
- Mobile phones.
When one thinks about it, the total time impact of some or all of the above is significant. I too am distracted by some of the above. But the point is that a whole lot of people are so ‘addicted’ unknowingly to all the above, that they exert no controls over them at all. What’s left is rather little time to focus on the big issues in their own lives.
I’ll interrupt this post right now to say that I’m not here to tell people how to live their lives! If people wanna continue on their paths, it’s totally fiiiiiine! Just don’t waste my precious time with crap stories! I might listen or appear to be listening but actually my mind would be elsewhere! I’m well aware that some who consider themselves to be my friends may be reading this. Do I help these people? Probably not, cuz I tell them like it is – and this eventually leads them to say nice things but to avoid me, with a list of plausible reasons. It’s rather funny really how people do not spot that their actions speak louder than their words. I know – they’re busy. I’m ‘the pain’. Makes sense. Do I give a flying flamingo? I do NOT! My priority has never been the ‘seeking of friends’.
The reality is that ‘everybody’ wants change for the better in their lives – but the other reality is that they won’t do what is required to bring about those changes. Not my job to help ‘everybody’ or even a chosen few. So – people continue to be distracted…..errh….
Stupid: Well distraction can be therapeutic to some people.
CW: How did you get out?!
Stupid: You obviously let me out.. don’t try to be clever.
CW: Yeah ok.. yes, distraction can be therapeutic to some people. However, I was not talking about therapy. My post is not designed as an academic to weigh up the pros and cons of distraction. If people want to use distraction as therapy, that’s fine – but that’s not an excuse for incurring the costs I referred to. Have your therapy but get on with what you need to do in your life!
Stupid: You should be more sympathetic to people who are distracted.
CW: Why? And what’s that gonna do for them? Most of these people already have loads of friends who provide them with sympathy and support – as well as further distraction. I decide what I do – not you. I’m not in the business of giving sympathy to idiots!
Stupid: You’re so harsh! Have you never been distracted?
CW: I am harsh – thanks for confirming. Yes – I have been distracted many times in my life. I’ve paid for that distraction – that’s how I know about it first hand.
Stupid: So you’re saying that giving people a kick up the backside is the way to cure them?
CW: Yes! People do need a kick up the backside – and that I can provide for free! I know from my own experience that those who have given me a kick up the backside, interrupted my non-achieving distractions. So I highly recommend kicks up the backside!
Stupid: That’s no way to treat people who are in need of help.
CW: I disagree! Many adults – who consider themselves to be mature people – actually behave like children.
Stupid: How much is many?
CW: Probably >70% is my personal estimate based on my own experience of a wide range of people.
Stupid: So you know loads of people?
CW: No. I meet lots of people in work-related situations and many other people who are not necessarily mentally disabled in any way. I observe how they function. Distraction is a big part of their non-achievement.
Stupid: Well – not everybody is focused or OCD like you!
CW: I do not suffer with OCD – and yes I’ve become more focused in recent years. Focusing intensely on the detail that matters and avoiding distraction does not mean that one has OCD – you fool!
Stupid: No need to get shirty.
CW: I do as I please. You are no expert on OCD, so don’t come out of your box and start throwing diagnoses around!
Stupid: Is that a threat?
CW: Yes – keep it up and you’ll be back in the box faster than an eye-blink!
Stupid: Ok – so since you’ve bullied me, I’ll move on. Some people are disabled though. They may be born with deficient intelligence or suffered a mental illness.
CW: As usual – the likes of you reach for the exceptions to the general picture. It’s a classic trick of logic that immature thinkers use i.e. find a handful of exceptions to a general picture, in order to destroy the whole picture. It doesn’t actually change the overall validity of the observation.
Stupid: What does that mean?
CW: It means that people like to pick exceptions in order to find comfort for their own failings. So with people who are morbidly overweight, they’ll pick on genetic theories of obesity – but not focus on their own gorging on calories.
Stupid: You’re using too many big words.
CW: Tough. And I’m not providing you with a dictionary either.
Stupid: So what do you recommend?
CW: I’m not here to give advice. Anybody who associates with me will get free slapping or kicking-up-the-backside therapy, should they come to me for comfort when they are they engineers of their own discomfort.
Stupid: You won’t keep friends like that – will you?
CW: That’s right. I aim to lose so-called friends. There is something beyond friendship.
Stupid: What’s that?
CW: Unfortunately, that is not something I’m going into today. It’s blog post in the making. Right – it’s time for you to get back in the box.
Stupid: Wait.. I…
CW: No. You’re back in the box. You have no rights of free expression. In you go!