For those of you who don’t know, my actual full-time job is in advertising. This means I’m constantly looking at how people’s attention can be grabbed at the right time to make an impact. But this also means I’ve never been more aware of how strained our attention is as a culture. With our phones constantly in our hands, bright flashing ads always trying to pull us in one way or another, and that feeling that we must constantly be connected out of fear that we’ll miss out on something. Don’t even bother with the question of what we’re so afraid of missing out on – not only do we have no clue, but we quit worrying about that a long time ago.
With the prevalence of Nike showing up recently in the news, every time I see “Just Do It!” on my screen I’m reminded of how much emphasis we place on this “doing.” Doing means that we’re working towards something, that there is active energy being expended toward an end goal.
But you know what’s just as important as doing?
I want to take a moment to emphasize the fact that I don’t want this post to take on the tone of all those blogs I hate – you know the ones! – that push “unplugging” and “self care” while simultaneously being angry that you aren’t liking their carefully curated Instagram posts. No, I want to look at this idea of “being” as a conscious focusing of our attention instead of allowing ourselves to be pulled in a million different directions.
Do we need to know about the news of the world? Absolutely! But do we need to know about it every five minutes or whenever we aren’t actively engaging in another activity? Eh. Let’s go with probably not.
So how do you look at this idea of “being” instead of “doing?” I don’t actually think you need to change anything – simply make an effort to focus on those things that are important to you more than those things that are in a constant battle for your attention. You can still stay connected in healthy ways and benefit from “being” in a world that’s pushing you to “do.”
There’s more value in “doing” when it’s on your terms, “doing” when YOU are ready, and “doing” those things that add more energy than they take away.