in Cognitive Wisdom, Prism of Life

There is no denying that unlimited access to infinite information has dramatically reframed the length & breadth of prism through which we tend to see the world.

In the last decade or so we have accepted smartphones as a natural extension of our body. In fact, the time spent with our smartphone is something we often forget to even notice. Accessing the smartphone right through the day (and in most cases night too) has become as effortless as breathing.

The present age of hyper-connectivity has placed us in an unenviable position where we have managed to exponentially increase our tendency to get both distracted and procrastinate at the same time.

As a consequence, there is a persistent fear we might miss being part of the action if we are not tuned in — riding on autopilot by choosing to refresh our Facebook and Twitter page for the 49th time in a day. However, if we are willing to climb that little mountain of patience (nothing but a simple byproduct of that ever elusive pause) we can find out that those imagined fears are highly misplaced, at least most of the time.

If you chose to carry “busyness” as your favorite badge of honor, then I am afraid you are still confused about what matters to you and what should get your undivided attention.

Because if busyness is just a distraction to get yourself an excuse to procrastinate the work that is ultimately important to you, then I guess it’s time to revisit your priorities.

The moment you chose to commit yourself for a particular goal you have dared to opt yourself out of multiple distractions.

But then, how do you identify the “subject” of your “focus”? It’s not as simple as it may sound. Often our preference for a particular goal is heavily influenced by our immediate environment, which in turn is shaped by societal conditioning. And of course, we are too happy to buy the story of success we are told could be ours if we follow the commonly accepted path leading to that particular goal.

You may have your own reasoning (your own insecurities & perceived limitations) to buy that idea in first place so that you could say it wasn’t your idea to start with and you can’t be held responsible for its executional failure.

Let’s say you want to have a million dollar in your bank account before you turn thirty. And through years of sheer hard work and dedication, you succeed in making it a reality. But herein lies the paradox — because once you reach the destination you don’t feel anything special about your achievement. The next day is not going to be any different from yesterday. 

When we are pursuing a definite goal, what we really want isn’t the thing itself. What we want is —

the experience of ease and unfettered enjoyment that is promised, falsely, by the thought of acquiring the thing—in this case, a million dollar in your bank account.

In fact, we can see the evidence of it in our quest to have unique restaurant experience, unique cruise experience, unique raise in salary experience and a whole lot of scramble to accumulate uniqueness in every possible diversity of experiences — even though each one of them might come with its own share of struggles, pains, complications, and regrets.

The ease and unfettered enjoyment could be found much more readily by understanding our wants rather than scrambling to collect everything perceived to be a commonly accepted yardstick of success. We live in a society that’s constantly promising that ease and relief through achievement of a particular goal, showing us pictures of it whenever possible, showing us how affordable it is. However, we constantly forget that it’s the ease, the unfettered mind, that we really want.

And there is no arguing when it comes to the ease with which we can fulfill most of our wants because the majority of it can be fulfilled without much effort.

In fact, the following words by Thomas Merton compels you to revisit the strategy employed to live your life:

Some of us need to discover that we will not begin to live more fully until we have the courage to do, see, taste, and experience much less than usual.

His words serve as a reminder that what matters is not how much we see and do in life (given our access to unlimited options) but the quality of our focus to whatever we’re doing at the moment.

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