A Brilliant Thinker and Book Author Just Revealed Why We’re So Distracted

What if you could make the most of your time?

This is a fundamental question to ask in the age of distraction. Social media algorithms, as we all learned from the documentary The social dilemma on Netflix, are designed to keep us hooked at all hours of the day (and sometimes late into the night).

We live in a time where the more you scroll, the more you help pay the bills on Facebook. (Apparently they really need your help.)

Yet, as with anything that feels hard to control, weirdly compelling and seductive, or downright addictive and obsessive-worthy, we have to ask ourselves the hard questions about why we’re so obsessed. Why does it destroy our productivity, how can we regain control, and what would we claim in life if we weren’t so distracted?

Author, speaker and brilliant thinker Clay Scroggins (who just published a new book on leadership) explains why it seems like technology, social media, our phones and all the other digital clutter in our lives seem to be gaining more and more over and over a foot and why they’re even more distracting: “Because distractions work,” he says. “They keep us from feeling the things we don’t want to feel.”

I had a moment of amazement at this comment.

Entertainment do to work. They take us away from the things that matter, the things that are actually productive, and the things that make us feel. An entire decade of smartphone and social media obsession summed up in one sentence.

“Our society is the most stressed, depressed, anxious and worried group of humans that has ever walked the planet,” he says. “Instead of dealing with our painful emotions, it’s easier to open an app and scroll until our thumbs grip. And just like we never get to the bottom of Instagram’s endless timeline , we never get to the bottom of our emotions either.

Scroggins calls it a endless cycle. We want to satiate ourselves, so we choose something that’s superficial and meaningless, which means we never deal with what’s really bothering us in the first place. The way I defined this cycle in my book on building good habits is that the reward we seek doesn’t actually exist on social media, which makes it so compelling. Whatever perception of a reward we may feel, we never get it, so we keep looking for it.

Because social media is so superficial, it caters to an audience (all of us, actually) that doesn’t want to wade into the depths. Inauthenticity works. We don’t need to think too much when someone posts their political views or denounces a whole group of people.

“The new temptation to say all the right things and do nothing has never been more prevalent,” says Scroggins. “For example, do you remember the summer of 2020? How many companies (and individuals for that matter) have issued statements condemning racism while doing very little to support it? »

“The leaders of the future must do the internal work, in their own souls and in the souls of their companies, to fight for authenticity,” he adds. “Either you post what is true or you don’t post at all because as a society we know too much to be fooled many times over.”

The challenge with social media and all of the technology is figuring out what’s worth and has value, and what’s causing the distraction.

It is not easy. Scroggins says he uses social media to connect with readers, and he’s never found a better way to do it. For some of us, the solution is to focus on the good, the things that matter. This is also what Scroggins suggests.

“Learning to appreciate what other people are doing without losing sight of the vision you have for your own life and organization is a must,” he says. “And learning when to unfollow someone when the comparison becomes too much is necessary for anyone interested in successfully managing social media.”

How do you answer the questions he asks? Is social media just a distraction or has it proven useful in some way? Drop a comment on my twitter feed and tag me, or email me with your thoughts on the subject.

Grover Z. Barnes