As time flows forward the torrent of distractions becomes stronger and more challenging to evade. We try to commute to and from work with focus on the road ahead but we’re bombarded with billboards and radio commercials. We just want to have an attentive conversation with our loved ones but the buzzing electronics in our pockets and the fear of missing out on our social platforms takes up too much of our brain power to focus. It’s become an arduous task to take a breath and spend a brief moment in thought.
We wanted it this way. Our ancestors worked hard to fill every second of our modern days with more. More communication, more entertainment and above all, more advertisement. This effort was intended to maximize our time and accomplish more, however please ask yourself how often you realize that you’ve gone days without a single thought about a friend that is important to you because your mind has been occupied at all hours of the day? Or how often you favor social media and video streaming over productive tasks and chores? We’ve gone from distracting ourselves between tasks, to distracting ourselves from tasks and have now become so distracted that some essential tasks don’t even cross our minds.
Distraction isn’t all bad. There is plenty of negativity in our world that can be unhealthy to pay too much attention to. Like most things, there is a balance that must be maintained to be productive, happy and keep your sanity. An abundance of tools are available that are designed to remind you to be productive. Our smartphones have calendars and alarms while our desks have sticky notes and schedules. There are less tools, however, to remind you to be happy. This is something you must remind yourself.
Netflix and Facebook may keep us entertained and distracted all day, they may even bring us temporary happiness, but real happiness comes from a reminder of something truly good in this world. A framed photo of the person you love on your desk, a pocket knife that your grandfather carried, a challenge coin that embodies a remarkable group of people, these are the items that give you a daily reminder that there is good hiding amidst the madness of society. Thinking about the positive, kind, constructive and generous things you’ve experienced or witnessed is remarkable motivation to strive for these same qualities. You simply have to remind yourself to have these thoughts.
People say that material objects cannot bring happiness. Such a philosophy has been passed around for as long as I can remember. I believe that things can bring true happiness if they are attached to joyful memories or represent something positive. I encourage you to carry something everyday that reminds you of positivity and energizes you to do some good for the world. You’ll touch this item multiple times per day, admire it and have a momentary break from the distractions.