Turning Pro 3/10 – Amusing Ourselves to Death


It’s Day 3 of reading Turning Pro – the title of today’s post is taken from Neil Postman, although it remains apt for the topic I’m writing about today: distractions. In a world rife with information overload and, needless to say, endless distractions mostly via the Internet and social media, most of us are no stranger to falling prey to them but what does distraction mean to the person turning pro?

Have you checked your e-mail in the last half hour? When you sit down to do your work, do you leave your web connection on?

In today’s section that we read, Pressfield focuses on addiction (in all forms), and one of the addictions he focuses on is being addicted to distraction.

Inadvertently, so much so that it just seems natural, this year I have been spending considerably less time on the Internet and screens. I didn’t make it a New Year’s resolution or goal, it just happened as I spent more time on personal projects and life in general; “the bigger picture”. Don’t get me wrong, the Internet is great but in the not-too-recent past, the Internet was my place to hang out (whether on social media or simply browsing). Now, when I do spend more time than I should, or constantly checking email and social media, that’s an indicator for me that I’m being distracted from important goals or priorities.

Distraction, Pressfield writes, is part of the shadow life and when we’re addicted to it, it diverts us from our true calling. Distraction can also be a form of oppression because it’s easy to slip through and we don’t notice it. For an otherwise light-hearted movie, this was executed brilliantly (and so swiftly that it’s almost imperceptible) in a moment in The Lego MovieWhen we feel uncomfortable or dissatisfied, another distraction crops up to and we forget in the face of novelty.

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