We all succumb to distractions to some degree, one way or another. Some are incredibly careful with their time, others are equally careless with it. Some distractions are minor, some major. Some are indulged in occasionally, some frequently.
Distractions are plentiful: work, partying, intoxication, shopping, eating, the internet, video games, television, social media, sports. Few distractions are bad in themselves – when used in appropriate moderation and in the right way they can form a part of necessary rest, leisure and education. However, all can easily be used excessively to distract ourselves from more important, life-enriching activities and tasks for both ourselves and others.
When we distracting ourselves, we lose track of time and suddenly our mental well-being seems to be in tatters, when in reality it had happened gradually, without our notice. Once we lose focus on what is important, this is when we are most prone to distraction. Then we lose our most valuable tool – our ability to reflect and deal with problems or difficult situations. Distractions prevent us from being able to focus on dealing with our problems effectively and without suffering or worry. If we are distracted we lose this ability to learn and better ourselves – we run the risk of stagnation.
Constant vigilance is necessary to protect the mind from overindulgence. Not only vices that eat away your time and energy, but getting distracted from your goals with the day to day living and mental distractions – stress, worry etc, these are areas that must be worked upon – we neglect them at our peril.
The most important tools against distractions are awareness and determination. If we repeatedly remind ourselves that when we indulge we are choosing to spend our short-term doing something that provides temporary benefit – satiating desires, soothing hurts and escaping difficult truths or situation – but it not ultimately nourishing or beneficial for our long-term growth. This requires discipline and stern determination to purge yourself of wasted time on non-important, pointless or even harmful activities.
When we succumb to the whim of our desire we not only lose our freedom but we lose our direction and awareness. The cliche that too much of anything is bad for you could not be more profound. Having too many distractions and too much of them stunts our self-awareness and potentially years of life can slip by with no moral progress or growth.
If we wish to pursue our goals and dreams and society and ourselves, we must relish the prospect of working diligently towards our vision, making the most of our allotted span of life. We tend to be most vulnerable to distractions when we have problems and situations to avoid in life. Distractions can alleviate the symptoms of stress and fear; however, we must acknowledge the reality of life – that difficult things come along all the time. They are unavoidable: we cannot prevent bad things from happening. However, we can control how we choose to perceive it. If we indulge in our distractions too much we will be wasting large periods of time escaping our problems and our personal growth – time which will never be retrieved.
Our time in existence is limited, and we never know when it may end. Probably not for many years, although you cannot be sure.