YOUR BRAIN ON THE COMPUTER

 

The N.Y. Times article Hooked on Gadgets, and Paying a Mental Price discusses how people are no longer living in the moment, buried under by the ‘email a minute’ culture and too linked to technology.

Mr. Campbell continues to struggle with the effects of the deluge of data. Even after he unplugs, he craves the stimulation he gets from his electronic gadgets. He forgets things like dinner plans, and he has trouble focusing on his family.

His wife, Brenda, complains, “It seems like he can no longer be fully in the moment.”

Scientists say juggling e-mail, phone calls and other incoming information can change how people think and behave. They say our ability to focus is being undermined by bursts of information.

These play to a primitive impulse to respond to immediate opportunities and threats. The stimulation provokes excitement — a dopamine squirt — that researchers say can be addictive. In its absence, people feel bored.

That is a very dangerous assertion. That in the absence of activity, people feel bored. The act of doing something, of being busy is the ‘rush’ or the goal. An old boss of mine used to make a comment when I would talk about my activity level. He would first ask what I was doing, assessing whether my activities were actually productive or time filling. And often he would help me realize that many of the things I was doing were just ‘busy work’. They were not progressing me to the goal, at that time – the goal was selling more.

Email is a dangerous feeder of the ‘busy work’ feeling. And just because we are busy, it does not mean that we will be successful. It is an artificial sense of accomplishment. There is no correlation to success.

It is all about what you are doing. As an aside, I frequently turn my Blackberry off.

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