Distracted by Distractions

It’s 2017. The amount of technology we have in todays society is changing on a rapid scale and new software, programs and apps are continually being developed along with the improvement of existing ones. Social media is no different. I only have to scroll through my phone to see accounts such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat all calling my name to connect with people. And how many others have there been over the years, that now are probably redundant. It was only a couple of years ago that Periscope was the cool way to stream to your friends, or even further back you’d connect to people on your Bebo page (sorry – I’m not old enough to have lived through the MSN days – although I do remember dial up!).

With all these changes and developments here’s the thought that sums it up quite nicely:

“Distracted from distraction by distraction” – T.S Eliot

As the next best thing comes along, so too does another distraction as we can’t help ourselves but check it out. ‘I’ll just take a little look at Pinterest’ turns into a full day of getting inspired by all the cool décor shared. Or just one YouTube video turns into three or four (guilty!). Using Social Media for Search and Research talks about these kinds of distractions forming habits and routines in our lives in which it is hard to break away from these distractions. They talk about breaking these habits by replacing one routine with another and changing your thought patterns. Understanding and changing habits like these isn’t just relevant in todays society (although the context is different with the changes in technology), but principles like these have been relevant throughout history too.

You need look no further than the Bible. Whether you believe or not, the Bible is a historical piece of writing that has been around for hundreds of years. And you only have to look in books such as Proverbs, Romans and Corinthians (to name a few from the top of my head) to discover that the thought of retraining your brain has been around for hundreds of years. Where our thoughts form our actions which form our habits, it’s no wonder there is such an emphasis of changing the way we think and battling with our mind.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” – Romans 12:2

Renew: to make new again – replacing the old with the new. To take the old way of thinking and challenging it to replace with the new way. To let the new way of thinking form our actions which then in turn form our habits. So when you think about it, they’re saying ‘let your mind be transformed by replacing the old though patterns with the new’.

So how does this all relate? It’s clear that the same thought about changing your thought pattern is consistent throughout history with what is said today in the Social Media book – but what about Eliot’s quote? Well here’s my thought – there is no escape, no cure from the distractions, but only a new distraction to take its place – “Distracted from distraction by distraction”. Think about it for a minute – I can replace my YouTube viewing with reading my textbook BUT that doesn’t solve the issue of a distraction. Reading my textbook becomes the distraction from my YouTube viewing. Changing my thought pattern and behaviour doesn’t prevent my distractions, it just replaces an old distraction with a new one. Social Media distractions that come like the newest Snapchat filters, our friends Insta-stories or Facebook status updates, Tweets made by our favourite celebrities will always be around. Eliot’s right in his thought that we’ll continually be distracted by distractions, but I guess the thought to follow from this is will we be distracted with the right things and not live with the ‘just one more video’ mentality (you can feel free to replace my struggle with yours ha).

And with that all being said, I will leave you with some final questions to reflect on:

What is your distraction?
Is it the kind of distraction you need in your life?
What are you going to do about it?

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