Everyday, a variety of different things are vying for your attention. This has been true throughout history–family, work, leisure–all of it is competing for space in our brains. But the fact is that today it is far more insidious. We live in a world where thousands of different entities are competing to capture, and maintain, our attention and they are doing it to the tune of billions of dollars. Television is a barrage of advertising trying to get you to NOT MISS the NEXT GAME or the SEASON PREMIERE. Your computer, originally a powerful vehicle for self direction, is now a distraction machine. Facebook can eat up hours of your time. Marketers are more savvy than they have ever been at ways to capture and maintain your attention.
What is the cost to us of all this fractured attention? It’s simple really, when we allow our attention to be captured by outside forces, we lose our ability to be self-directed. We stop deciding the direction of our lives and start following someone else’s path. You’ve heard it before, your energy goes where your awareness goes; when your awareness is with all the distractions that are bombarding you throughout a given day, your energy follows. This is dangerous because it’s your energy, a function of your subconscious, that is the impetus for most of your activity, and activity, as you well know, is a key factor (if not the key factor) in achievement.
Since energy is a function of the subconscious, the one way we have to control it is through our awareness. This is an immensely powerful choice that you have in your life–what are you focusing on? What information fills your brain on any given day? Do you listen to the radio on the way to work–an hour’s worth of snide, off-color commentary peppered with advertisers trying to get you to watch “the best hour on television”? Or are you listening to personal development? Something that will direct your brain toward the activities that will help you achieve your well-planned goals. The fact is, if you are not consciously choosing what fills your brain someone else is filling it for you.
Distractions are like a virus in your brain. Viruses, by definition, are anything that interrupt proper function and that is exactly what distractions do in your head. They keep you from achieving your most meaningful goals and, ultimately, being happy We are designed for success and find our greatest happiness as human beings in the “progressive realization of a worthy idea” (thank you Napolean Hill!). We live up to our full potential and realize this true happiness only when we are controlling the direction of our thoughts, both conscious and unconscious. Make your decision daily…what will fill your thoughts? Protect your head.