Welcome to the 21 Century! A time period defined by its distractions, whether that be social media, Netflix, YouTube, 24 hour News, virtual reality, or video games.
Humans have been distracting themselves since the beginning of recorded human history, whether that be Roman gladiators or Netflix. Distractions can benefit society, allow for people to relax and decompress from the daily stress of life. Distractions themselves are not the problem, it’s the amount of time consumed distracting oneself. We live in a time period where there is an unlimited amount of distraction and entertainment, which becomes addictive. The high from binge-watching Breaking Bad can feel so good at first, but after spending all day on the couch, we feel horrible. This concept is known as diminishing returns. Diminishing returns is when adding more of an activity actually decreasing the amount of return. For example, 1 alcoholic beverage might bring joy but 20 drinks could lead to alcohol poisoning, at some point consuming more alcohol led to an adverse effect. The phrase “Less Is More” seems fitting.
With freedom, comes responsibility.
We have the freedom to spend most of our waking time on Netflix while only eating Butterfingers, Taco Bell, and Coors Light. I truly believe that we are blessed and cursed with this freedom. It is a blessing to live in a country where you can choose your own path, express yourself, and consume what you want without Government control. I’m very grateful for this freedom but with this freedom comes responsibility for us to regulate our habits and behaviors. I don’t think most of us have been taught self-control because our culture of consumerism frowns upon self-restraint and responsible living. The rise of Minimalism is a direct response to this culture of unsustainable consumption. We have to regulate our two most valuable commodities, time and attention. We only have a finite amount of time and attention so we must choose wisely how we spend it. It saddens me how much time I have spent on social, media, Netflix, and watching sports when I could have been contributing, growing, and spending time with people that I love.
It’s not about cutting out all these distractions, but regulated and deciding what brings value to your life. Write down what your activities are throughout the week and you will how much time you spend distraction yourself. Here is an example.
Activities Per Week
Netflix 10 hours Netflix 2 hours
Youtube 5 hours YouTube 1 hour
Facebook 4 hours Facebook 2 hours
Football 6 hours Football 4 hours
Family 3 hours Family 12hours
Passions 1 hour Passions 10 hours
It’s not about cutting everything our life but regulating the distractions so they don’t make up a majority of our free time. What we are passionate about will thrive if we cut out the excess of distractions. Without the endless distractions, we can spend more time connecting with our family, friends, and significant others. Our life will have more meaning and less emptiness.
We all have the same 24 hours, let’s make the best use of it.