Our modern world has become a constant source of information and entertainment, distractions. We take our phones with us everywhere we go to stay connected to the cyber world – connected 24/7 to internet, emails, messaging, and information.
Then there is the bombardment of advertisements nearly everywhere we look – telephone, internet, radio, tv, billboards, newspapers, magazines, movies, sports fields . . . the list is almost endless.
Entertainment is also available 24/7 – movies, internet games, clubs & pubs . . . Each enter our mind and gain control of our attention and resources. We no longer need to listen to our own inner messages or think for ourselves. As we are ‘entertained’ and told what to ‘know’, what to think and do continually, an intentional life becomes a distant memory. Actually, for some, I think an intentional life just feels too hard.
The urge to check up on our Facebook friends steals more of our time than the friends right in front of us. Constantly checking emails, messages, missed phone calls and even just in case we missed ‘Something’, ‘Anything’.
The overload of trivial and unnecessary information distractions, may pull our attention from the life right in front of us, or keep us from realizing the life we truly desire … and yet, these distractions go virtually unnoticed for what they are. They are seen as necessary, important and normal, rather than the addictive habit they become – a distraction from anything authentic and real.
All around us, nearly every moment of the day, messages are battling for space in our minds. They are promoting products, information, ‘entertainment’ and ‘educating’ us on our lives and how to live them. Our lives go un-investigated and un-evaluated. As a result, we are lured by them away from any true significance in our lives. And our greatest needs and desires go unmet.
Advertisers foster a sense of dissatisfaction by promising greater happiness with their products. And because we are so used to giving our attention away, we easily fall pray to their message without even realizing it. Like all the other distractions, they start to feel real. Materialism is, after all, a natural behavior born out of discontent with who we are and the image we think we project. It is discontent that opens up our heart to many of the unhealthy habits and distractions in our lives.
Often times, the things we own can end up owning us and become yet another distraction to our lives. We spend time and money researching them, purchasing them, organizing them, cleaning them, fixing them, discarding them, and replacing them – not to mention acquiring the money to purchase them, house them, maintain them, take care of them and ultimately replace them.
But, thankfully there are ways out of the distraction dilemma.
An Attitude of Gratitude
If discontent is the cause of many of our unhealthy habits and distractions, contentment is the cure. Gratitude is the feeling and expression of thankfulness for who we are and what we have right now, opening the door to contentment. It causes us to focus on the good things we already have regardless of our present circumstances, improving our well-being in almost every regard.
Moments with yourself
Next time you desire to make a purchase, check Facebook, work late, or engage in a habit that controls you . . . pause. Begin to practice moments of solitude away from the distractions of this world. The more you cultivate this practice, the more comfortable you’ll become with it. And the more comfortable you become with it, the more you’ll allow this silence to reveal your true hearts desires.
Every so often, you need to slow down long enough to notice the focus of your life. With your attention and focus you create yourself and your life. Get clear about what matters to you most, what your true needs are and what your core values are. Build a solid foundation of what is true for you, to live your life from.
Happy and content people are clear about what truly matters to them and they return to it again and again, day after day. They base all of their thoughts, words, and actions from this foundation.
If we give our attention and focus away, there is none left for us to notice and run our own lives.
Allow yourself to dream and be who you were born to be. Then set small, achievable goals to move towards that.