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  • way go to a meeting with our colleagues, and we see that half the people around the table are distracted by their devices and are not really fully present with us.

  • We sit down on our desks, toe work on a big project and yet find ourselves checking email or scrolling a slack channel or doing something else rather than the thing we planned to do with our time.

  • What is going on here?

  • And is it really technology that is to blame, or is there something deeper going on?

  • Companies like Kohut get kids hooked.

  • Thio, in classroom learning fit bod gets people hooked to exercising in the gym.

  • Bite foods gets people hooked to healthier food options.

  • But of course, there's also a flip side that when we design products to be engaging, sometimes some products with some people are overused and we can become distracting.

  • And what I learned is that distraction, it turns out, is not a new problem that, in fact, Plato talked about the problem of distraction 2500 years ago.

  • He called it a crazy this tendency that we all have to do things against our better interest, and it's a fascinating question, I think.

  • Why is it that despite knowing what to Dio, we don't do the things we know we should.

  • We know we should exercise.

  • We don't we know we should eat better.

  • We don't We know we should work on that big project and we procrastinate.

  • Why don't we do the things we know we should?

  • And so, in order to understand this fundamental question, I think we have to start by understanding What do we mean when we use this term distraction?

  • The best way to understand what distraction is is to understand what distraction is not.

  • The opposite of distraction is not focus.

  • The opposite of distraction turns out to be traction.

  • If you look at the Entomology of the word, traction and distraction, both come from the same Latin root trickery, which means to pull and you both.

  • You'll notice that both words end in the same six letters.

  • They both end in a c t i o N action.

  • So traction is any action that pulls us towards what we want to do.

  • Things that we do with intent.

  • Now the opposite of traction is distraction.

  • Anything we do that pulls us away from what we plan to do.

  • Things that we do without intent.

  • Now this is important for a few reasons.

  • One, I think it frees us from this ridiculous moral hierarchy that what I do with my time is fine.

  • But with what you do with your time, that's frivolous.

  • So you spending time on Facebook or Candy Crush?

  • No, that's a waste of time.

  • But me watching football for three hours.

  • That's okay.

  • Why, If they're done with intent, If these are things that are consistent with your values that you plan to do with your time, they're both perfectly fine pastimes.

  • The other thing that's important about this dichotomy is that we can realize that anything can become a distraction.

  • For example, in my case, I would sit down on my desk and I would promise myself that now I'm going to get to work.

  • Now I'm going to do that thing that I procrastinating on.

  • I'm going to finally do what it is.

  • I said.

  • I'm going to dio right after I check email right after I scroll that slack channel and something that felt work E.

  • It felt like something I needed to do anyway for my my work right.

  • We all have to check email.

  • That's just part of our jobs.

  • However, if it's not what you plan to do with your time, if it's something that you are not doing with intent, it is just as much of a distraction.

  • So the next question is, why are we prompted Thio either do actions that take us towards traction or distraction?

  • Well, there are two things that prompt us to take these actions the first or what we call the external triggers.

  • External triggers are things in our environment that prompt us to either traction or distraction.

  • So if an external trigger like a paying a ding, a ring, a notification, even a colleague prompts you to do something you plan to do with your time, it's leading you towards traction.

  • However, if one of these notifications, uh, takes you off track, prompt you to do something you didn't plan to dio, as it was the case when I was with my daughter, when my phone buzzed and I was on my device as opposed to being present with her, it led me towards distraction.

  • However, as much as we blame these external triggers, it turns out the most common source of distraction are not the things outside of us, but rather the fact that distraction tends to start from within us these air.

  • What we call the internal triggers internal triggers are these uncomfortable emotional states that we seek to escape from.

  • And so if we're going to answer Plato's question of why do we do things against our better interests?

  • We have to start a layer deeper.

  • We have to start with the question of why do we do anything and everything?

  • Most people, if you ask them, why do people do what they do?

  • What's the fundamental nature of human motivation?

  • They'll give you some version of carrots and sticks.

  • This is called Freud's pleasure principle that everything we do is about the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain.

  • But neurologically speaking, that is not true.

  • That, in fact, what we now know is that everything that we do, we do for one reason, and that is to escape from discomfort.

  • We know this to be true physiologically if you think about it, if you go outside and it's cold, you put on a coat, and if it's hot once you walk back inside you take it off.

  • If you're hungry, you feel hunger pangs.

  • You eat and when you're stuffed you've eaten too much.

  • That doesn't feel good.

  • You stop eating.

  • So these air physiological sensations that prompt us towards action The same rule applies to psychological discomfort.

  • So let me ask you, what website or app do people check when they're feeling lonely?

  • Where do we go?

  • Facebook?

  • Let me said tinder also true, Different kind of loneliness, but also And what about when we're feeling bored?

  • Where do we go when we're feeling bored?

  • We check YouTube, we look at red and we look at stock prices, sports scores, Pinterest.

  • All of these products and services cater to this uncomfortable emotional itch, this feeling that we don't want to experience.

  • Therefore, if we conclude that all behavior is prompted by a desire to escape discomfort, that means that time management is pain management, that the latest life hacks and gurus techniques don't work unless we fundamentally understand this fact that time management is pain management.

  • If we do not deal with the reason why we are looking for escape, why we are getting distract in the first place?

  • Why we want to take our mind off of this emotional discomfort.

way go to a meeting with our colleagues, and we see that half the people around the table are distracted by their devices and are not really fully present with us.

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B1 distraction traction discomfort prompt intent external

How to Become Indistractable with Nir Eyal

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    林宜悉 posted on 2020/10/30
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