The Art of Concentrating

We suck at concentrating.  Somewhere along the line, we forgot how to sit still and do nothing else but focus on our thoughts.  We’re addicted.  We need some sort of device within arm’s reach.  Without it, we’re lost - god forbid we actually may need to process our thoughts.

We’re amazing consumers of information.  We don’t just sit back and let information come to us, we actively go out and try and consume as much as we possibly can, never actually stopping to consider the why.  Why am I seeking out what my old friend from school, Bob, is eating for lunch?

This is all very addictive.  Ever watched a teenager on Facebook? Their finger wildly clicking away, tagging photos, responding to numerous chats and posting another witty status update.

Of course, one would argue there is value in this (connections, global communication etc, etc.) and I do agree.  But it doesn’t need to be an all or nothing approach.  We don’t need to live with a device by our side.   We can function perfectly well without all this information.

I’m as guilty as anyone else when it comes to distractions and focus.  Some days, I get so fed up, I lock down all my time wasters (youtube, vimeo, dribbble, etc.)  using various software.  It really can be a massive battle with one’s self to overcome that urge to consume and just do nothing but think.

After some traveling, I’m currently back in Canberra while I launch a new startup.  I don’t enjoy being back here.  It’s not because of the company I keep, or even the somewhat lowsy whether, its the fact that I am now so connected.  There is always wifi or 3G.  I all too easily give in and start and rapid consumption of information.

I don’t take a cell phone when I travel.  I use skype on either my Macbook or iPod Touch, both of which rely on being connected to WiFi.  And thankfully, for concentrations sake, there are long periods without WiFI while you’re on the road.

Its this forced state of disconnection that I relished.  Without any distractions, I was suddenly forced to get lost in my own thoughts.  I sat and I concentrated.

I discovered once again, that lost art of concentration.

Photo by - h.koppdelaney

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