Do you spend too much time on Facebook? I know I do. Every day I promise myself I will not waste any of my previous life tiddly-diddling around on Mark Zuckerberg’s amazing invention. But here’s the thing. Facebook is actually far from being your biggest distraction. It’s not the thing that stops you living in the here and now, experiencing every wonderful thing this beautiful planet has to offer. It’s not the thing that stops you from building the business of your dreams or the project that makes a difference to the world. No, there are four bigger distractions than Facebook – the Four Major Distractions that stop us from experiencing every entrepreneur, change-maker or activist from achieving their dreams. Here’s what they are:-
What are the Four Major Distractions?
No 1 – The Past
Have you ever gone over and over and over again something that happened a year ago or a week ago? When we are trapped thinking about what happened in the past, regretting what happened yesterday or a year ago, or regretting what we did or didn’t do, ruminating on what we said, didn’t say or should have said – we are stuck in a place from which nothing ever happens. It draws us away from what needs to happen, from what needs to emerge – today. The past is what has happened, it has past away. There is nothing we can do to change anything that has happened in the past.
No 2 – The Future
Similarly, worrying about what might happen tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow, is futile. The future is a story that hasn’t been written yet, and you can only write it if you are living in the present. Today. Reality can only ever emerge in the present moment.
No 3 – Them
Them is all about us allowing ourselves to put the focus of our attention on others. Blaming other people for our own misfortunes, comparing ourselves to other people’s achievements (and often coming off worst in our minds). Now here Facebook does have a role to play because it’s one of the worst places to go if you’re in the comparison zone. There are so many artfully curated ‘success stories’ on Facebook, that it can leave you feeling depleted and disheartened if you believe ever word you read! A focus on ‘them’ locates the source of all our experiences outside ourselves, and disregards our own role in whatever comes to pass.
No 4 – Me
The reverse of Them is to have a self-absorbed focus that is all about ‘me’. Being over-focused on what may happen to me in any given situation, by only having concern and interest in my own outcomes, experiences, feelings, suffering, happiness, wants and desires. Without having any recognition of the rest of the world.
Any one of these distractions takes us away from life the present moment. Now that’s not to say that any entrepreneur should never make plans to grow his business. That no time at all should be given to strategy or thinking or market research. But the business of the future is created by the steps you take every single day towards your dream business and not by the plans you put down on a piece of paper or a spreadsheet.
How can we avoid The Four Distractions?
Easier said than done. But here are a few clues I have learned along the way, especially recently from MIT’s Presencing Institute.
The Past – look at the past with a fresh mindset that is one focused on learning. Keep sight of whatever role we ourselves played in whatever happened in the past on which we are tempted to ruminate and ask a simple question. What role did I play and what could I have done differently? And move on.
The Future – if we can develop a capacity to lean into the unknown and sense what is wanting to emerge in the future, to allow whatever the collective consciousness wants to emerge, without striving and forcing, would we be more likely to access something positive. This takes training in meditation and sensing, using our intuition and latent intelligence that we are only now beginning to access.
Them – If instead of observing, comparing and contrasting, we can attempt to develop a deeper sense of listening to others, of really connecting with and empathising with others, perhaps we would see past the curated stories and veneers presented to us and find a way to have a deeper more meaningful dialogue with them. In a way that collapses imaginary boundaries of race, nationality, circumstances, looks, behaviours. Deep listening practice takes us to another level where we can hear emergent ideas.
Me – can we turn the camera back on ourselves and instead of pursuing our ego-driven desires, come to a more mindful approach to our everyday living? I find this accessible through mindfulness meditation which helps me become more awake and aware of the world around me and my relationship to it.
I have found that both mindfulness meditation and resilience training have helped me deal with all of the four major distractions. I don’t succeed all of the time, but I have improved my ability to live in the present moment. It has helped raise my productivity because I do every day what has to be done, and I almost never go to sleep anxious about what has not been done or what has to be done tomorrow. And somehow, without any of the adrenalin and stress of my extreme entrepreneurial years, I am still achieving the same lifestyle I always had. I’m just present enough to enjoy it!!