There are many people I look up to who have achieved a level of success that I desire. Maybe they built a business, have a personal brand, an awesome product or service, or have a positive influence over people.
One thing that I struggle with that they have learned to overcome to some degree is choosing to not numb their mind. Particularly with a smart phone, computer, or television. They learned to confront their problems and solve them. You and I must learn to solve our own problems if we want to move forward in growth.
With social media and “reality” TV, many people, including myself, are now TRAINED for distraction. I desire the distraction because I do not have to feel the pain or hardship of solving my own problems in life. Have you ever found yourself doing this? Instead of doing what you should be doing, you find yourself distracted on interWebs? Next time your working on a project or in conversation with someone, see how many times you’re tempted to look at your phone or something to be distracted from what’s happening. Or, after a stressful situation or perhaps an argument, see if you try to go to social media to feel better. You may find that you’re not even conscious of what you’re choosing. That’s how you know your brain is trained in a behavioral rut.
So, instead of trying to process deeply and dig beneath the mirk and mud of life, I would rather not face the internal, emotional stress of confronting problems or thinking deeply and instead, check my smart phone to see what is happening on social media (and then another wretched thing starts to happen: I compare my life to what other people have or are doing, and become depressed that I don’t have those things).
This pattern does not yield the real happiness or results I’m looking for in life. How about you?
So, how to stop this? This is a plan you can follow that will give you a structure for changing your behavior of distraction.
- Take ownership that the only person who can change you is YOU!
- Ask yourself, what is it that I’m trying to avoid? Why am I trying to avoid it? What great result will be achieved if I stop avoiding it? Write these questions out along with the answers.
- Become hopeless about your pattern. Dr. Henry Cloud talks about this in “Necessary Endings.” Project the results you’ve been getting (avoiding the problem through social media) into the future. Do you still want to be in this pain of not solving your life’s problems/patterns? Become hopeless about what’s not working and choose to change.
- Put in a new pattern. Choose a new pattern of doing what you’re trying to avoid. This will need to be a structured goal. Maybe it will be to shut off your phone during critical tasks, meetings, or conversations. Whatever it is, decide on it, start it, then reevaluate to see if the stucture is working or what might need to be changed, added, or clarified.
- Accountability. Find a person who you trust and will not demean you for not achieving your goal, but will encourage you. Someone you feel is a safe person to share your pattern with and how you intend to change. This person is not responsible for you, but is response to you. That is, to hold you to your own expectation. In this case, your own goal of changing the distracting behavior. This person will be responsible to regularly check in or check up on you to see how you’re doing with your own goal.
What pattern have you been struggling with and how are you overcoming it? Leave a comment if you’d like some help or add to any thoughts I’ve shared.