I aspire to never be too busy to think.
I’ve fallen into this trap recently, multiple times unfortunately.
What does it mean to be too busy to think, you wonder?
It’s when you’re too ‘busy’ doing things and not sitting down in silence to reflect on them.
It’s when you’re in the company of people so often that you forget to be in the company of yourself, to ask your soul what it would like to do instead of going with the flow.
I believe that every one of us in this era has some form of an attention deficit condition. This era that been called the ‘information age’ or the ‘age of speed’. Everything is available at your fingertips. It’s a blessing and a curse.
Our brains have not evolved historically to process and withhold as much information as we currently do.
Life was boring, back in the day.
I’m not even talking about 10,000 years ago and beyond. I’m talking about the fact that even our parents didn’t have to (and couldn’t) evolve their brains to process as much information as we are doing today (internet).
Our grandparents certainly didn’t either.
For the normal human today, our brains process so much information than any other time in history. And if you lead a busy life? It’s multiplied by a factor.
There has been a sudden acceleration in our evolution. Our brains can’t handle it. There are byproducts and side effects of that phenomenon.
I believe every person who’s connected to the internet every day has some form of an attention deficit condition. Not that I think it should be diagnosed or treated chemically/medically. I just think it’s the new norm.
What does that mean or result in?
– we can’t stay with an idea for more than a second or at best a few seconds
– our brains context switch so fast between different topics subconsciously that you can’t catch up with them consciously
– that in return creates mental fogs and errors. Imagine if you had a mechanical machine that had to operate too fast, beyond its capability. What would happen? It overheats! (anxiety, stress, depression)
– even if that doesn’t happen, we become short term thinkers. We are creatures of habit. What that means is our habits make up who we are. In other words, our lifestyle changes our mental models that we see life through. I don’t even know the amount of things this affects, but I can’t put it better than how it was put in the dictator speech:
“We have developed speed but we have shut ourselves in:
machinery that gives abundance has left us in want.
Our knowledge has made us cynical,
our cleverness hard and unkind.
We think too much and feel too little:
More than machinery we need humanity;
More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness.
Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.”
The point of this post is not that we should be more kind – but I just remembered the words here and thought they were too good, before their time.
The point I wanted to make for myself here is not to live a life where I’m too busy to think.
How can you work around this? Especially if you lead a busy life? (in my case, that’s running a growing company)
Well, the short answer is you probably can’t, but you can improve it.
You can’t change the course of our evolution.
I mean, you can change yours, if you live on an isolated farm and disconnect from the internet and the outside world. That’s the only real solution.
But I think as humans we evolve.
When we used to live in isolated farms, we didn’t have this problem. Then we started living in cities, being connected to the internet all the time. That overloaded all our sensory and mental capacities, leading to the attention deficit (our brains don’t know what to do with so much information).
I was never an advocate of medication. I know modern medicine has made beautifully crafted chemicals that would slow down your brain to give you a temporary feel for how our brains used to operate (and mother nature did as well).
Those could be necessary for some cases, but I’d like to think there’s a natural way.
Exercise and meditation are two ways I know that could help your brain slow down after a long sprint. They connect us with our 100,000 year old ancestors. They did those 2, among other things, a lot.
Spending time alone and journaling helps a ton as well.