60,000 Internal Distractions
Each day our minds float on an endless stream of thoughts. Thoughts that bump into each other, thoughts that often make little or no sense and thoughts that continuously add up to a mind-boggling number sometimes exceeding 60,000 each day.
It’s hard to imagine moments without the steady stream of internal dialogue yapping away in our minds. Seemingly most of what we think about is not relevant to what we are doing at that moment, or not relevant to the conversation we are having with our group at work or our friends and family at home.
If we are aware of the conversations we have with ourselves we’ll often find they are merely a construction of unconnected internal distractions, our mind gets bored easily it seems.
Who cares what we are going to eat for dinner tonight when it’s only 10:00 AM, really? What does it matter if someone needs their haircut, in the middle of a discussion about yearly sales figures. Would slapping someone on the back of the head really change their mind?
Internal Distractions Are Bereft of Power
Where is our focus within the present moment? Why am I thinking all the time about useless stuff? Does thinking about a new car or getting a cat really help me to understand what my colleague is talking about?
Maybe the questions might be re-framed into something like, what if our team learned Generative Dialogue or some other group tactics that would help us stay more focused and productive? Or maybe, can active listening infuse our company with value?
Focus can be learned, listening skills can be honed and internal distractions can be tempered and often dissolved through a regular mindfulness practice.
The only power our thoughts have is the power we give them when we decide they are somehow connected to reality. And yes, it’s we ourselves who grasp onto thoughts and imbue them with a meaning and importance they never had until we held them dearly.
for the objective of all human arrangements is through distracting one’s thoughts to cease to be aware of life.”Friedrich Nietzsche
The Internal Roar sparks and ignites these collisions of thought. The Internal Roar threatens to erase our focus in the present moment.
The solution to pulling ourselves out of this whirlpool of swirling thoughts is to become consciously aware of our colliding thoughts. It’s a bit like being aware of stop lights when we drive. When we recognize we are thinking we acknowledge the thinking and gently bring ourselves back to the present moment.
There is no judgement added nor any attempt to suppress our thinking. We only acknowledge the thinking going on and proceed within the moment.
When we become aware of the present moments we’re inhabiting, we gain more Choice over our own lives.
When we become aware of our thinking and our near-constant conversations with ourselves we can interrupt them, and regain our focus. Thoughts don’t mind if we don’t grab hold of them, they’ll come back another time and we’ll acknowledge them once again.
Internal distractions along with external distractions can both seem like we are stuck with the chaos accompanying their roaring noise, but with some practice it’s possible to blunt the force they seem to exert in out lives. It’s possible to step back and not become hooked by this constant stream bumping into our lives.
(1) Chasing perfection is a no win goal. Perfection doesn’t exist, and if we spend an unimaginable amount of time on a project we risk accomplishing very little.
Ask yourself why am I seeking perfection? And what’s keeping me so stressed out that I need perfection?
Take a long walk to clear your head or meditate to help give you touch more space within yourself.
(2) It’s easy to get caught on the emotional roller coaster of the past. Regrets and sorrows hook us seemingly out of nowhere.
Grabbing onto sorrow about what might have been,or should have been eliminates peace of mind.
Go somewhere new like a museum or join a yoga class/spinning class. Getting active helps shake your brain cells into focusing on the present moment.
(3) I’ve never heard a person tell someone that a big goal in life is to chase happiness, and I’ve never heard the advice to give chasing happiness, everything you’ve got.
But, is there any doubt society exhorts us to chase happiness as a worthy goal?
Society tells us that more and better stuff is why we work so hard, and in the end it’ll bring us happiness. What Do You Think?
(4) This is one of those distractions that’s confusing for many people.
Jonesing is: craving something to the point of obsession, to the point that it blocks out all things and people
Spend time with family and friends walking in the woods, cooking together, playing board games and practicing meditation. And less time craving and jonesing.
(5) Ask yourself: How do I compare to others? Do I judge people by race, religion, DNA?
We all compare ourselves and others to benchmarks requiring we exclude people who don’t measure up, because of how they dress, what they eat, where they went to school, etc.
We all have a desire to associate with people who are like us, often leading us to become closed minded and petty. Generally we aren’t excluding people because we are evil or selfish, but because it’s easier to associate with those who look like us and those who think like us, it’s how are brain works when we are on auto pilot.