Hi Everyone and welcome back to the Hockey Journey Podcast, episode number 68, Get Distracted Easily, Maybe this will Help, presented to you by Online Hockey Training.com. I'm your host Coach Lance Pitlick. If you're new here, please make sure you subscribe, so you won't miss out on any future episodes.
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As the last decade has passed, there's been an evolution in how I navigate through a day now. More things were added to my schedule that were important to me, and I had to somehow find a way to gain more deep work time in order to create these new agenda items or habits. What happened next, well I did an exercise to see exactly where my time was going each day and I quickly realized that I needed to make some changes to gain more workable hours. So that meant I had to start giving up some things.
Adjustment number one, I basically turned off my social calendar and went into hermit mode for a while. It was funny, one day I just realized that I wasn't moving the needle forward fast enough to accomplish my personal and business objectives. So I did something I hadn't done in a long, long, time and that was to fully commit, everyday, for weeks and sometimes months to get the job done.
I've slowly refined my processes over time, to the point now where they're habits and I don't think about having to do something, I just do. I win more daily moments than lose, but there's something I have to pay close attention to, otherwise I'll get sucked down the rabbit hole mindlessly scrolling on my phone. Sites like facebook and twitter, I love, but they have a way to keep me there longer than I originally anticipated, just in and out I always think, but it never ends that way.
It's been publicly acknowledged that attention is the commodity every major site is trying to get, your attention, my attention, and for as long as possible.
Tristan Harris, former Google design ethicist and co-founder of the Center for Humane Technology explains in the documentary "The Social Dilemma" that there are three main goals of tech companies
1. The engagement goal: to increase usage and to make sure users continue scrolling.
2. The growth goal: to ensure users are coming back and inviting friends that invite even more friends.
3. The advertisement goal: to make sure that while the above two goals are happening, the companies are also making as much money as possible from the advertisements.
This was adapted from The Social Dilemma Wikipedia page.
The point being, we've all been hearing about it for years, but for me, I wasn't really listening about the negative effects of social technology, because I was so intrigued by how cool it was and what it could do. Only to find out that a lot of the mindless searching or video watching I thought 100% was benefiting me, was completely wrong and is intentional. As you'll soon find out, the system is rigged for most of us to fail and we unknowingly give away a massive amount of our daily time to others and their agenda's, thinking that they are our own.
There is a way to fight back and start gaining some control over who and where you're giving your attention to. I'm in no position to give advice on how to become better at managing it, but there are many, who have made the investigation of distraction, or today's label, digital addiction their life's work and I'd like to share with you some of their most important findings and how impactful practicing the suggestions will improve your productivity and daily achievements.
For the following books I'm going to reference, know that I'm only scratching the surface of all the learning nuggets in each of the titles. If something resonates with you from a certain book, by the end of this episode, I highly encourage you to pick up a copy of your own and read it in its entirety. I'll put the links to each of the titles in the description. With that being said, let's begin.
Book Number One
How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life
By Nir Eyal
“The fact is, in this day and age, if you are not equipped to manage distraction, your brain will be manipulated by time-wasting diversions. In the next few pages, I’ll reveal my own struggle with distraction, and how I, ironically, got hooked. But I’ll also share how I overcame struggle and explain why we are much more powerful than any of the tech giants. As an industry insider, Iknow their Achilles’ heel—and soon you will too. The good news is that we have the unique ability to adapt to such threats. We can take steps right now to retrain and regain our brains. To be blunt, what other choice do we have? We don’t have time to wait for regulators to do something, and if you hold your breath waiting for corporations to make their products lessdistracting, well, you’re going to suffocate. In the future, there will be two kinds of people in the world: those who let their attention and lives be controlled and coerced by others and those who proudly call themselves ‘indistractable.’ By opening this book, you’ve taken the first step towardowning your time and your future. But you’re just getting started. For years you’ve been conditioned to expect instant gratification. Think of getting to the last page of Indistractable as a personal challenge to liberate your mind. The antidote to impulsiveness is forethought. Planning ahead ensures you will follow through. With the techniques in this book, you’ll learn exactly what to do from this day forth to control your attention and choose your life.” (End Quote)
TRACTION VS. DISTRACTION
“Imagine a line that represents the value of everything you do throughout your day. To the right,the actions are positive; to the left, they are negative. On the right side of the continuum is traction, which comes from the Latin trahere, meaning ‘to draw or pull.’ We can think of traction as the actions that draw us toward what we want in life. On the left side is distraction, the opposite of traction. Derived from the same Latin root, the word means the ‘drawing away of the mind.’ Distractions impede us from making progress toward the life we envision. All behaviors, whether they tend toward traction or distraction, are prompted by triggers, internal or external.” (End Quote)
CAUSES: ROOT VS. PROXIMATE
“Consider the game of pool. What makes the colored balls go into the pockets? Is it the whiteball, the stick, or the player’s actions? We understand that while the white cue ball and stick arenecessary, the root cause is the player. The white cue ball and stick aren’t the root causes; theyare the proximate causes of the resulting event. In the game of life, it’s often hard to see the root cause of things. When we’re passed over for a promotion, we might blame that cunning coworker for taking our job instead of reflecting on our lack of qualifications and initiative. When we get into a fight with our spouse, we might blame the conflict on one tiny incident, like a toilet seat left up, instead of acknowledging years of unresolved issues. And when we scapegoat our political and ideological opponents for the world’s troubles, we choose not to seek to understand the deeper systemic reasons behind the problems. These proximate causes have something in common—they help us deflect responsibility onto something or someone else. It’s not that the cue ball and stick don’t factor into the equation, just like the coworker or toilet seat, but they certainly aren’t responsible for the outcome. Without understanding and tackling the root causes, we’re stuck being helpless victims in a tragedy of our own creation. The distractions in our lives are the result of the same forces—they are proximate causes that wethink are to blame, while the root causes stay hidden. We tend to blame things like television,junk food, social media, cigarettes, and video games—but these are proximate causes of ourdistraction.” (End Quote)
WILLPOWER: FINITE? NOPE.
“Recently, however, scientists have examined the theory [that willpower is finite] more critically,and several have soured on the idea. Evan Carter at the University of Miami was one of the firstto challenge Baumeister’s findings. In a 2010 meta-analysis (a study of studies), Carter looked at nearly two hundred experiments that concluded ego depletion was real. Upon closer inspection, however, he identified a ‘publication bias,’ in which studies that produced contradictory evidence were not included. When factoring in their results, he concluded there was no firm evidence supporting the ego depletion theory. Furthermore, some of the more magical aspects of the theory, like the idea that sugar can increase willpower, have been thoroughly debunked.” (End Quote)
Bonus Quote #5
EYAL’S BIG 3: YOU + RELATIONSHIPS + WORK
“Whatever our values may be, it’s helpful to categorize them into various life domains, a conceptthat is thousands of years old. The Stoic philosopher Hierocles demonstrated the interconnected nature of our lives with concentric circles illustrating a hierarchical balance of duties. He placed the human mind and body at the center, followed by close family in the next ring, then extended family, then fellow members of one’s tribe, then inhabitants of one’s town or city, fellow citizens and countrymen next, finishing with all humanity in the outermost ring.Inspired by his example, I created a way to simplify and visualize the three life domains where we spend our time... you, relationships, and work. These three domains outline where we spend our time. They give us a way to think about how we plan our days so that we can become an authentic reflection of the people we want to be.” (End Quote)
Bonus Quote #6
B = MAT
“In 2007, B.J. Fogg, founder of Stanford University’s Persuasive Technology Lab, taught a classon ‘mass interpersonal persuasion.’ Several of the students in attendance would later pursuecareers applying his methods at companies like Facebook and Uber. Mike Krieger, a cofounderof Instagram, created a prototype of the app in Fogg’s class that he eventually sold for $1 billion.As a student at Stanford’s business school at the time, I attended a retreat at Fogg’s home, where he taught his methods of persuasion in more depth. Learning from him firsthand was a turning point in my understanding of human behavior. He taught me a new formula that changed the way I viewed the world. The Fogg Behavior Model states that for a behavior (B) to occur, three things must be present at the same time: motivation (M), ability (A), and a trigger (T). More succinctly, B = MAT. Motivation is ‘energy for action,’ according to Edward Deci, professor of psychology at the University of Rochester. When we’re highly motivated, we have a strong desire, and the requisite energy, to take action, and when we’re not motivated, we lack the energy to perform a task. Meanwhile, in Fogg’s formula, ability relates to facility of action. Quite simply, the harder something is to do, the less likely people are to do it. Conversely, the easier something is to do, the more likely we are to do it. When people have sufficient motivation and ability, they’re primed for certain behavior. However, without the critical third component, the behavior will not occur. A trigger to tell us what to do next is always required. We discussed internal triggers in a previous section, but when it comes to the products we use every day and the interruptions that lead to distraction, external triggers—stimuli in our environment that prompt us to act—play a big role.” (End Quote)
Bonus Quote #7
“With that in mind, what identity should we take on to help fight distraction? It should now be clear why this book is called Indistractable. Welcome to your new moniker! By thinking ofyourself as indistractable, you empower yourself through your new identity. You can also use this identity as a rationale to tell others why you do ‘strange’ things like meticulously plan your time, refuse to respond to every notification immediately, or put a sign on your screen when you don’t want to be disturbed. These acts are no more unusual than other expressions of identity, like wearing religious garb or eating a particular diet. It’s time to be indistractable and proud!” (End Quote)
Book Number Two
Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World
By Cal Newport
“Our current relationship with the technologies of our hyper-connected world is unsustainable and is leading us closer to the quiet desperation that Thoreau observed so many years ago. But as Thoreau reminds us, ‘the sun rose clear’ and we still have the ability to change this state of affairs. To do so, however, we cannot passively allow the wild tangle of tools, entertainments, and distractions provided by the internet age to dictate how we spend our time or how we feel. We must indeed take steps to extract the good from these technologies while sidestepping what’s bad. We require a philosophy that puts our aspirations and values once again in charge of our daily experience, all the while dethroning primal whims and the business models of Silicon Valley from their current dominance of this role; a philosophy that accepts new technologies,but not if the price is the dehumanization Andrew Sullivan warned us about; a philosophy that prioritizes long-term meaning over short-term satisfaction. A philosophy, in other words, like digital minimalism.” (End Quote)
YOUR SOUL IN A LOPSIDED ARMS RACE
“The fact that our humanity was routed by these tools over the past decade should come as no surprise. As I just detailed, we’ve been engaging in a lopsided arms race in which thetechnologies encroaching on our autonomy were preying with increasing precision on deepseated vulnerabilities in our brains, while we still naively believed that we were just fiddling with fun gifts handed down from the nerd gods. When Bill Maher joked that the App Store was coming for our souls, he was actually onto something. As Socrates explained to Phaedrus in Plato’s famous chariot metaphor, our soul can be understood as a chariot driver struggling to rein two horses, one representing our better nature and the other our baser impulses. When we increasingly cede autonomy to the digital, we energize the latter horse and make the chariot driver’s struggle to steer increasingly difficult—a diminishing of our soul’s authority. When seen from this perspective, it becomes clear that this is a battle we must fight. But to do so, we need a more serious strategy, something custom built to swat aside the forces manipulating us toward behavioral addictions and that offers a concrete plan about how to put new technologies to use for our best aspirations not against them. Digital minimalism is one such strategy. It’s toward its details that we now turn our attention.” (End Quote)
“Digital Minimalism A philosophy of technology use in which you focus your online time on asmall number of carefully selected and optimized activities that strongly support things you value, and then happily miss out on everything else. The so-called digital minimalists who follow this philosophy constantly perform implicit cost-benefit analyses. If a new technology offers little more than a minor diversion or trivial convenience, the minimalist will ignore it. Even when a new technology promises to support something the minimalist values, it must still pass a stricter test: is this the best way to use technology to support this value? If the answer is no, the minimalist will set to work trying to optimize the tech, or search out a better option. By working backward from their deep values to their technology choices, digital minimalists transform these innovations from a source of distraction into tools to support a life well lived. By doing so, they break the spell that has made so many people feel like they’re losing control to their screens.” (End Quote)
SPEND TIME ALONE
“Returning to our canary-in-the-coal-mine analogy, the plight of iGen provides a strong warning about the danger of solitude deprivation. When an entire cohort unintentionally eliminated time alone with their thoughts from their lives, their mental health suffered dramatically. On reflection, this makes sense. These teenagers have lost the ability to process and make sense of their emotions, or to reflect on who they are and what really matters, or to build strong relationships, or even to just allow their brains time to power down their critical social circuits, which are not meant to be used constantly, and to redirect that energy to other important cognitive housekeeping tasks. We shouldn’t be surprised that these absences lead to malfunctions. Most adults stop short of the constant connectivity practiced by members of iGen, but if youextrapolate these effects to the somewhat milder forms of solitude deprivation that have become common among many different age groups, the results are still worrisome. As I’ve learned by interacting with my readers, many have come to accept a background hum of low-grade anxiety that permeates their daily lives. When looking for explanations, they might turn to the latest crises—be it the recession of 2009 or the contentious election of 2016—or chalk it up to a normal reaction to the stresses of adulthood. But once you begin studying the positive benefits of spending time alone with your thoughts, and encounter the distressing effects that appear in populations that eliminate this altogether, a simple explanation emerges: we need solitude to thrive as human beings, and in recent years, without even realizing it, we’ve been systematically reducing this crucial ingredient from our lives. Simply put, humans are not wired to be constantly wired.” (End Quote)
Bonus Quote #5
“The state I’m helping you escape is one in which passive interaction with your screens is yourprimary leisure. I want you to replace this with a state where your leisure time is now filled with better pursuits, many of which will exist primarily in the physical world. In this new state, digital technology is still present, but now subordinated to a support role: helping you to set up or maintain your leisure activities, but not acting as the primary source of leisure themselves.Spending an hour browsing funny YouTube clips might sap your vitality, while—and I’m speaking from recent experience here—using YouTube to teach yourself how to replace a motor in a bathroom ventilation fan can provide the foundation for a satisfying afternoon of tinkering. A foundational theme in digital minimalism is that new technology, when used with care andintention, creates a better life than either Luddism or mindless adoption.” (End Quote)
Bonus Quote #6
JOIN THE ATTENTION RESISTANCE MOVEMENT
“The lopsidedness of this battle is a big part of the reason I never messed around with any ofthese services in the first place. To repeat a line from the New Yorker writer George Packer,‘[Twitter] scares me, not because I’m morally superior to it, but because I don’t think I couldhandle it. I’m afraid I’d end up letting my own son go hungry.’ If you must use these services,however, and you hope to do so without ceding autonomy over your time and attention, it’scrucial to understand that this is not a casual decision. You’re instead waging a David andGoliath battle against institutions that are both impossibly rich and intent on using this wealth to stop you from winning. Put another way, to approach attention economy services with the intentionality proposed by Ginsberg and Burke is not a commonsense adjustment to your digital habits, but is instead better understood as a bold act of resistance. Fortunately, if you take this path, you’ll not be alone. My research on digital minimalism has revealed the existence of a loosely organized attention resistance movement, made up of individuals who combine high-tech tools with disciplined operating procedures to conduct surgical strikes on popular attention economy services—dropping in to extract value, and then slipping away before the attention traps set by these companies can spring shut.” (End Quote)
Book Number Three
What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains
By Nicholas Carr
“We seem to have arrived, as McLuhan said we would, at an important juncture in our intellectual and cultural history, a moment of transition between two very different modes of thinking. What we’re trading away in return for the riches of the Net—and only a curmudgeon would refuse to see the riches—is what Karp calls ‘our old linear thought process.’ Calm, focused, undistracted, the linear mind is being pushed aside by a new kind of mind that wants and needs to take in anddole out information in short, disjointed, often overlapping bursts—the faster, the better. John Batelle, a one time magazine editor and journalism professor who now runs an online advertising syndicate, has described the intellectual fission he experiences when skittered across Web pages: ‘When I am performing bricolage in real time over the course of hours, I am ‘feeling’ my brain light up, I [am] ‘feeling like I’m getting smarter.’ Most of us have experienced similar sensations while online. The feelings are intoxicating—so much so that they can distract us from the Net’s deeper cognitive consequences. For the last five centuries, ever since Gutenberg’s printing press made book reading a popular pursuit, the linear, literary mind has been at the center of art, science, and society. As supple as it is subtle, it’s been the imaginative mind of theRenaissance, the rational mind of the Enlightenment, the inventive mind of the Industrial Revolution, even the subversive mind of Modernism. It may soon be yesterday’s mind.” (End Quote)
HELLO AGAIN, DR. HEBB
“What goes on in the microscopic spaces between our neurons is exceedingly complicated, butin simple terms it involves various chemical reactions that register and record experiences inneural pathways. Every time we perform a task or experience a sensation, whether physical ormental, a set of neurons in our brains is activated. If they’re in proximity, these neurons jointogether through the exchange of synaptic neurotransmitters like the amino acid glutamate. As the experience is repeated, the synaptic links between the neurons grow stronger and moreplentiful through both physiological changes, such as the release of higher concentrations ofneurotransmitters, and anatomical ones, such as the generation of new neurons or the growth of new synaptic terminals on existing axons and dendrites. Synaptic links can also weaken inresponse to experiences, again as a result of physiological and anatomical alterations. What welearn as we live is embedded in ever-changing cellular connections inside our heads. The chainsof linked neurons form our minds’ true ‘vital paths.’ Today, scientists sum up the essentialdynamic of neuroplasticity with a saying known as Hebb’s rule: ‘Cells that fire together wiretogether." (End Quote)
THE PERFECT WAY TO BLOW UP OUR BRAINS
“Now comes the crucial question: What can science tell us about the actual effects that Internetuse is having on the way our minds work? No doubt, this question will be the subject of a greatdeal of research in the years ahead. Already, though, there is much we know or can surmise. The news is even more disturbing than I had suspected. Dozens of studies by psychologists,neurobiologists, educators, and Web designers point to the same conclusion: when we go online, we enter an environment that promotes cursory reading, hurried and distracted thinking,and superficial learning. It’s possible to think deeply while surfing the Net, just as it’s possible to think shallowly while reading a book, but that’s not the type of thinking the technologyencourages and rewards. One thing is very clear: if, knowing what we know today about the brain’s plasticity, if you were to set out to invent a medium that would rewire our mental circuits as quickly and thoroughly as possible, you would probably end up designing something that looks and works a lot like the Internet. It’s not just that we tend to use the Net regularly, even obsessively. It’s that the Net delivers precisely the kind of sensory and cognitive stimuli—repetitive, intensive, interactive, addictive—that have been shown to result in strong and rapid alterations in brain circuits and functions. With the exception of alphabets and number systems, the Net may well be the single most powerful mind-altering technology that has ever come into general use. At the very least, it’s the most powerful that has come along since the book.” (End Quote)
THE GREMLINS IN YOUR HUNGRY LITTLE BRAIN
“It wasn’t just that so many of my habits and routines were changing as I became moreaccustomed to and dependent on the sites and services of the Net. The very way my brainworked seemed to be changing. It was then that I began worrying about my inability to payattention to one thing for more than a couple minutes. At first I’d figured that the problem was a symptom of my middle-age mind rot. But my brain, I realized, wasn’t just drifting. It was hungry. It was demanding to be fed the way the Net fed me—and the more it was fed, the hungrier it became. Even when I was away from my computer, I yearned to check e-mail, click links, do some Googling. I wanted to be connected. Just as Microsoft Word had turned me into a flesh-and-blood word processor, the Internet, I sensed, was turning me into something like a high-speed data-processing machine, a human HAL. I missed my old brain.”
Mr. Carr continues;
“The influx of competing messages that we receive whenever we go online not only overloads our working memory; it makes it much harder for our frontal lobes to concentrate our attention on any one thing. The process of memory consolidation can’t even get started. And, thanks once again to the plasticity of our neuronal pathways, the more we use the Web, the more we train our brain to be distracted—to process information very quickly and very efficiently but without sustained attention. That helps explain why many of us find it hard to concentrate even when we’re away from our computers.” (End Quote)
Bonus Quote #5
ATTENTION: SEIZED THEN SCATTERED
“Our use of the Internet involves many paradoxes, but the one that promises to have the greatest long-term influence over how we think is this one: the Net seizes our attention only to scatter it. We focus intensively on the medium itself, on the flickering screen, but we’re distracted by the medium’s rapid-fire delivery of competing messages and stimuli. Whenever and wherever we log on, the Net presents us with an incredibly seductive blur. Human beings ‘want more information, more impressions, and more complexity,’ writes Torkel Klingberg, the Swedish neuroscientist. We tend to ‘seek out situations that demand concurrent performance orsituations in which [we] are overwhelmed with information.’ If the slow progression of wordsacross printed pages dampened our cravings to be inundated by mental stimulation, the Netindulges it. It returns us to our native state of bottom-up distractedness, while presenting us with far more distractions than our ancestors ever had to deal with.” (End Quote)
Bonus Quote #6
HYPERLINKS + HYPER-REDUCED-RETENTION
“Research continues to show that people who read linear text comprehend more, remembermore, and learn more than those who read text peppered with links. In a 2001 study, twoCanadian scholars asked seventy people to read ‘The Demon Lover,’ a short story by themodernist writer Elizabeth Bowen. One group read the story in a traditional linear-text format; asecond group read a version with links, as you’d find on a Web page. The hypertext readers tooklonger to read the story, yet in subsequent interviews they also reported more confusion anduncertainty about what they had read.” (End Quote)
Bonus Quote #7
TIME FOR SOME ATTENTION RESTORATION THERAPY
“A series of psychological studies over the past twenty years has revealed that after spendingtime in a quiet rural setting, close to nature, people exhibit greater attentiveness, strongermemory, and generally improved cognition. Their brains become both calmer and sharper. The reason, according to attention restoration theory, or ART, is that when people aren’t beingbombarded by external stimuli, their brains can, in effect, relax. They no longer have to tax their working memories by processing a stream of bottom-up distractions. The resulting state ofcontemplativeness strengthens their ability to control their mind.” (End Quote)
Bonus Quote #8
YOUNG & OLD: WE HAVE THE SAME (VULNERABLE) BRAINS
“I’ve always been suspicious of those who seek to describe the effects of digital media ingenerational terms, drawing sharp contrasts between young ‘Internet natives’ and old ‘Internetimmigrants.’ Such distinctions strike me as misleading, if not specious. If you look at statistics on Web use over the past two decades, you see that the average adult has spent more time onlinethan the average kid. Parents are besotted with their BlackBerrys as their children are with theirXboxes. And the idea that those who grow up peering at screens will somehow manage to avoidthe cognitive toll exacted by multitasking and persistent interruptions is a fantasy contradictedby neuroscientific research. All of us, young and old alike, have similar neurons and synapses,and our brains are affected in similar ways by the media we use.” (End Quote)
Lots to think about isn't there? My hope is that this has opened the door for you, as it did for me, to really take a closer look at where your time is going and are you using the internet, more specifically your smartphone as a tool to optimize, or is it like a vampire, extracting precious minutes from you one click or scroll at a time.
Well that concludes another episode of the hockey journey podcast. I can’t thank you enough for stopping by and listening. I hope you enjoyed this segment on digital distraction, and if you think there’s someone in your circle of family and friends that might like this episode as well, please share it with just one person, it will really help me in growing this hockey community.
Again, I appreciate you being here, don’t forget to subscribe, rate or submit a review, I hope to see you back here soon, and do me a favor, make someone close to you smile today. All the best my friends!!