QUOTE: There is, however, an important corollary to this idea: Efforts to deepen your focus will struggle if you don’t simultaneously wean your mind from a dependence on distraction. Much in the same way that athletes must take care of their bodies outside of their training sessions, you’ll struggle to achieve the deepest levels of concentration if you spend the rest of your time fleeing the slightest hint of boredom. We can find evidence for this claim in the research of Clifford Nass, the late Stanford communications professor who was well known for his study of behavior in the digital age. Among other insights, Nass’s research revealed that constant attention switching online has a lasting negative effect on your brain. Here’s Nass summarizing these findings in a 2010 interview with NPR’s Ira Flatow: So we have scales that allow us to divide up people into people who multitask all the time and people who rarely do, and the differences are remarkable. People who multitask all the time can’t filter out irrelevancy. They can’t manage a working memory. They’re chronically distracted. They initiate much larger parts of their brain that are irrelevant to the task at hand… they’re pretty much mental wrecks. At this point Flatow asks Nass whether the chronically distracted recognize this rewiring of their brain: The people we talk with continually said, “look, when I really have to concentrate, I turn off everything and I am laser-focused.” And unfortunately, they’ve developed habits of mind that make it impossible for them to be laser-focused. They’re suckers for irrelevancy. They just can’t keep on task. [emphasis mine] Once your brain has become accustomed to on-demand distraction, Nass discovered, it’s hard to shake the addiction even when you want to concentrate.
Note: [ under construction! ]
What gets your attention?
What human needs or problems are addressed?
What questions do you have?
What solution or hope does it offer?
What does it say that we need to obey?
What would a camera see if this happened?
Who needs to hear this?
What are the actual steps that I would take?
SOURCE – Footnotes:
 Cal Newport, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World (New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2016),
This post, and others in this series, are based on the book Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport (New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2016), and as a group are a review of the important ideas and of the entire book. I was also privileged to take the online course Life of Focus Standard Edition [CN040]taught by Cal Newport and Scott Young and presented through https://www.scotthyoung.com, which enhanced my understanding of the subject which I am now applying to my own profession, the work of the local church pastor.
All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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Key: Deep_Word_#27 Last Revision: 10/06/2020