As we know, our modern electronic internet/social networking/cell phone culture is stimulating, entertaining, and short-attention-span-ish, but accomplishments that fulfill us the most take patience, focus, and a long attention span.
A quote that I just saw and like, from “The Organized Mind” by Daniel Levitin :
“As already noted, the Internet has helped some of us to become more social and to establish and maintain a larger number of relationships. For others, particularly heavy Internet users who are introverted to begin with, the Internet has led them to become less socially involved, lonelier, and more likely to become depressed. Studies have shown a dramatic decline in empathy among college students, who apparently are less likely to say that it is valuable to put oneself in the place of others or to try and understand their feelings. It is not just because they are reading less literary fiction, it’s because they’re spending more time alone under the illusion that they’re being social.
Further complicating things is that the brain’s arousal system has a novelty bias, meaning that its attention can be hijacked easily by something new-the proverbial shiny objects we use to entice infants, puppies, and cats. And this novelty bias is more powerful than some of our deepest survival drives: Humans will work just as hard to obtain a novel experience as we will to get a meal or mate. The difficulty here for those of us who are trying to focus amid competing activities is clear: The very brain region we need to rely on for staying on task is easily distracted by shiny new objects. In multitasking, we unknowingly enter an addiction loop as the brain’s novelty centers become rewarded for processing shiny new stimuli, to the detriment of our prefrontal cortex, which wants to stay on task and gain the rewards of sustained effort and attention. We need to train ourselves to go for the long reward, and forgo the short one.
Anything that tempts us to break the extended concentration required to perform well on challenging tasks is a potential barrier to success. The change and novelty centers in your brain also feed you chemical rewards when you complete tasks, no matter how trivial. The social networking addiction loop, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Vine, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, Reddit, Pinterest, e-mail, texting, or whatever new thing will be adopted in the coming years, sends chemicals through the brain’s pleasure center that are genuinely, physiologically addicting. The greatest life satisfaction comes from completed projects that required sustained focus and energy. It seems unlikely that anyone will look back at their lives with pride and say with satisfaction that they managed to send an extra thousand text messages or check social network updates a few hundred extra times while they were working.”