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Tag: Mindfulness Page 1 of 2

Disrupting the Attention-based Economy

New OfficeSource

Stop being easily swayed by anything that’s in front of you. Start living a value-based lifestyle.

When you wake up in the morning and get out of bed — or even before you get out of bed — what’s the first thing that grabs your attention? Whatever it is, it’s going to be responsible for your first thoughts of the day. Throughout the rest of your day, you’ll be faced with a bombardment of distractions that will grab your awareness away from what you’re doing.

We live in an attention-based economy. Companies and people can only sell you products and services if they first have your attention, after all. This is nothing new, but with the rise of clever marketing statics (ex. Data-collection, branded content, personalized advertisements, etc.) most people are often being sold things without even realizing it.

By way of technology, there have been privacy tools and blockers created as a way to negate these tactics. However, this is a band-aid solution to a deeper, fundamental problem of society.

This goes beyond the exploits of current revenue models. People easily get caught up paying attention to things that just drain them of their energy. Time and energy wasted on toxicity — reaction instead of action. It is easy to blame advancements in technology and platforms for this, but the uncomfortable truth is that it is a human problem.

There is little we are able to control in life. We cannot control the behavior or actions of others — and we cannot control what’s going to be in today’s news — but we can control ourselves.

If attention is the currency of our modern economy, then our pockets are full at the start of each day. Absolutely nobody can dictate what you spend your time thinking about — no matter how hard they try. Bringing power back to the consumer, then, is simple. The solution is to stop consuming.

This is, of course, far easier said than done. There is a heavy weight of responsibility on our collective shoulders — but it is not an impossible burden to lift. The ability to overhaul this system will come from forming a meritocratic community. To begin our dialogue and actions on the basis of a value-based philosophy instead of an attention-based one.

What does this mean, exactly? Start with the fundamentals — what do you value in life? What is your self-imposed purpose? These are not easy questions to answer, but again, they’re not impossible. Often times, exactly because of the everyday distractions and white noise that nags at us, we find ourselves too busy to stop and think about these kinds of questions.

Contrary to what you might think, things become far simpler when you truly know what you want out of life and yourself. When you raise your expectations and cut out everything that isn’t actually necessary for you to be happy.

Forge an identity for yourself out of your passion and who you want to become. Use your attention for good — learn new things, create something, help your community, spend time relaxing by doing things you truly love to do instead of mindlessly scrolling through the Internet for a lukewarm buzz.

There is beauty in getting used to the uncomfortable. People constantly search out entertainment simply because we’ve become so unused to boredom and being bored. The modern mind is restless and uneasy — always looking for a distraction — and this is explicitly why the attention-based economy has been able to do so well.

In all honesty, this approach to life is far more difficult. The human brain is designed to sleepwalk into habits and routines and to tread the path of least resistance. Mindfulness needs to be developed, as well as gratitude — we’re conditioned to think we don’t have enough and need to seek out more — even though we most often already have everything that we need.

With the sheer pace of advancement in technology and the changing tides of the world at large, nothing comes close to being predictable anymore. It’s honestly a scary thought to think of the path we’re headed down if people continue to allow themselves to be easily swayed and dependent on entertainment. A serious and long pause needs to be taken. By everybody.

Thanks for Reading!

The Want of Difficulty

The Ascent of Mont BlancSource

Using Momentum & Mindfulness to Work Harder

THERE’S A BATTLE within all of us. I try to detach for a moment, and recognize the duality — the two distinctive wants that battle for majority attention:

  1. The want of difficulty, and of seeking betterment for ourselves. Doing the right thing for the long-term, no matter how much hard work is needed.
  2. The want of ease, and taking the path of least resistance. Doing the easiest thing no matter how detrimental it might be long-term.

Biologically speaking, human beings have evolved to favor ease over difficulty. Though, our prefrontal cortex — the most complex and cognitive part of our brain — has the ability to want more than just what’s easiest, and tries to combat our more primal and sluggish behavior.

Often times, this is a battle we lose, and a vicious circle is created. When there’s a feeling of guilt after wasting the day away, which only demoralizes and causes further laziness.

In my opinion, the most effective way to defeat laziness within one’s self is by utilizing two different tools: momentum and mindfulness.

Momentum

I believe there is good reason why ‘morning rituals’ are so largely talked about in the field of self-improvement. (1, 2, 3) When you start the day on a good note, it’s far easier to continue it. An object in motion stays in motion.

But a good day is only a good day — there needs to be a larger picture. That’s where the idea of not breaking the chain comes in. The idea that you must commit to doing something daily without allowing yourself to slip.

The more consecutive days you have going for you, the more momentum you build. The more you’re willing to fight to make sure you don’t break the chain and keep your streak going. But what happens if you fail?

Mindfulness

When we find ourselves in the middle of a bad day, it’s easy to similarly continue on with it and dismiss trying to salvage anything good out of it. It’s easy to find excuses or lament after failure.

The best way to move on from this and redeem yourself is to realize that you’re the only one pinning yourself downward — the world does not care.

You’re under no obligation to be the same person you were five minutes ago. — Alan Watts

Do not try to hold onto your shortcomings and regrets, take the lessons you learn from these things then dismiss the rest of the negativity. It helps nobody, particuarly yourself.

It can be rather difficult to understand — let alone control — your emotions if you’ve let them run astray for too long. The stoic act of distancing yourself from the emotional, impulsive part of your mind is one that needs to be practiced.


CONCLUSION: If you want to use your time more effectively, and not waste it, work with improving what you’re already doing right, while also working on not being too hard on yourself. Hold onto the good, and let go of the bad.

The Trick of Time

Window and Clock, Musée d’Orsay | Source

“It is not that we have so little time but that we lose so much. … The life we receive is not short but we make it so; we are not ill provided but use what we have wastefully.”

Seneca, On the Shortness of Life

Time is all we have — and it is our only limited currency. You can always get more money, you can always get more energy, but you can never get back time that you’ve spent. No matter how healthy you live, no matter how good your genetics are, your time is rangebound.

What isn’t so transfixed is our perception of time. A day that is spent doing something that is completely novel and laborious feels exponentially longer than a day spent doing something that is routine and pleasurable. Our mind has the ability to stretch or shorten our sensation of time, depending on our activities and mood.

But the easiest way to embellish our time is to simply cherish it — to be proactively mindful and conscious of what we’re doing at any moment. This is one of the keys to meditation, and in reality, it can be done anytime.

Imagine each day you’ve lived that you can’t even remember because you allowed yourself to mindlessly follow the same routine. Monotony is what accelerates our awareness of time. Uniformity is the enemy of our longevity.

Imagine instead, if you asked yourself the following question every five minutes throughout the day: “Am I happy with how I’m using my time right now?”

It’s effortlessly easy to become absorbed in the unimportant, or to become caught up in whatever is in front of you. It takes far more energy to be acquainted with each passing breath, each beating of the heart.

There might be an impossibility in capturing the entire day, each day. Not every fleeting moment of our lives needs to have some sort of grand meaning behind it. Rather, try to do just one thing each day to make it memorable, and take a few moments to just not do anything except appreciate the time you have. Use the hours, don’t count them.

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