Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Thought for the Day - The connection Between Short Attention Spans and Self-Love

Now we have shorter attention spans. "You see, attention spans have reduced drastically. These days we cannot engage anyone for more than a few seconds."

That's it. There's nothing we can do. This generation cannot hold its attention for longer than 30 minutes or 3 minutes or whatever.

That seems to be the accepted fact and we all bought into the story. Stories become shorter (I see posts with two line stories everyday which must be uber cool - wow, see that that satisfies my short attention span), movies get more desperate, social media gets smaller, communication gets even more shorter. On of my favorite nieces got married recently - ten years ago when I had longer attention spans I would write a long letter - but now I just send a Congrats S on facebook. Short you see - proves my point doesn't it?

Anyway, what do short attention spans mean (please spare me the research - if you are even thinking of throwing some research about how in the 1800s it was so and how it is scientifically proven that some tail in our brain has shortened thereby causing shorter attention spans - don't even go there).

I'd think that Short Attention Spans (SAS) mean that we cannot sit by quietly without losing attention. Why do we lose attention on anything? Because we get bored. Why do we get bored? Because either the content is not interesting enough or we are not interested in the content? What is interesting to us? When we feel we can control the content and this process of boredom. How can we do that? If we have something in our hands that allows us to do something and feel that we have come alive.

SASs are helped by the many options at our hands that offer scope to control the environment. Mobiles, computers, social media and all sorts of gadgets drive us to this twitching behavior. Twitching as in glancing at the mobile or at some gadget within two minutes.

Now why do twitch? Why do we glance at the gadgets?

Because we need to know if we are relevant to this world at all. Whether someone in the world has acknowledged our existence, (or liked our posts and pictures, growing more and more outrageous as interest falls outside). Hence the twitch.

It's more than a twitch. It's almost an itch. It's best left alone we know, deep inside, but we scratch and feel momentarily pleasured, then we continue scratching until we have scratched off the skin and mutilated it all. Our itches or twitches with our distractions are not a badge to be worn really. They are not great achievements. Its perhaps time we looked at the basic question. Why doesn't anything other than us interest us for longer than that span anymore (spare me the research again)?

The feeling that we are not important, that we are not being missed grows bigger and bigger. We'd die if we felt that we are irrelevant to the scheme of things anymore.

Put together a world of people seeking acknowledgement and approval from the world, give them a platform to feel wanted and voila you have millions of exchanges, mostly useless, flying about. Me scratching my itch now becomes total strangers scratching every one's itch. So one will post and another will like and another will comment and when  the other posts we have to like because we all must be mutually liked even though its all as affectionate as the air kissing in the page 3 parties and definitely with as much love as in the bowl the jackal gave the soup to the crane.

It is about self love really. Each time we feel the itch or the twitch, its only to see if the world acknowledges our presence. Actually its not self love as I would define self love. This twitchy and itchy behavior is more about a growing sense of insecurity, a lack of trust in our own relevance and capabilities. Mostly I'd think its a lack of love and respect from ourselves to ourselves - which I'd think is self-love in the true sense. If I felt happy with myself I would not need your likes and comments to make me feel good or bad.

The more the twitches and itches, the shorter the SASs. The less the twitches, the more your self-love quotient.

I have a 2 day workshop for a bunch of 20 year olds with little or no media except my stories and my capability to engage. My only weapon is my belief that they are good enough to feel good about themselves. That with the right intent and direction, we may not have too many twitches and itches. We may instead go towards self-love which is a good start. More on this theory later.


Rajendra said...

you may have got on to something here.

Harimohan said...