@amit's notes

Stolen Focus




I wondered if the motto for our era should be: I tried to live, but I got distracted. (Location 125)

‘Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.’ (Location 230)

Twitter makes you feel that the whole world is obsessed with you and your little ego – it loves you, it hates you, it’s talking about you right now. The ocean makes you feel like the world is greeting you with a soft, wet, welcoming indifference. It’s never going to argue back, no matter how loud you yell. (Location 384)

The more information you pump in, the less time people can focus on any individual piece of it. (Location 485)

it is like we’re ‘drinking from a fire-hose – there’s too much coming at us’ (Location 491)

‘What we are sacrificing is depth in all sorts of dimensions … Depth takes time. And depth takes reflection. If you have to keep up with everything and send emails all the time, there’s no time to reach depth. Depth connected to your work in relationships also takes time. It takes energy. It takes long timespans. And it takes commitment. It takes attention, right? All of these things that require depth are suffering. It’s pulling us more and more up onto the surface.’ (Location 501)

What’s happening with our cellphones is that we put a thing in our pocket that’s with us all the time that always offers an easy thing to do, rather than the important thing.’ (Location 524)

Your mind, given free undistracted time, will automatically think back over everything it absorbed, and it will start to draw links between them in new ways. (Location 617)

if you spend your time switching a lot, then the evidence suggests you will be slower, you’ll make more mistakes, you’ll be less creative, and you’ll remember less of what you do. (Location 626)

Narcissism, it occurred to me, is a corruption of attention – it’s where your attention becomes turned in only on yourself and your own ego. (Location 732)

Being friends is about looking into each other’s eyes, doing things together in the world, an endless exchange of gut laughs and bear hugs, joy and grief and dancing. (Location 1312)

life is complex, and if you want to understand it, you have to set aside a fair bit of time to think deeply about it. You need to slow down. (Location 1316)

I like the person I become when I read a lot of books. I dislike the person I become when I spend a lot of time on social media. (Location 1323)

We internalise the texture of the voices we’re exposed to. (Location 1384)

the more you let your mind wander, the better you are at having organised personal goals, being creative, and making patient, long-term decisions. (Location 1471)

‘Creativity is not [where you create] some new thing that’s emerged from your brain,’ Nathan told me. ‘It’s a new association between two things that were already there.’ (Location 1480)

So we aren’t just facing a crisis of lost spotlight focus – we are facing a crisis of lost mind-wandering. (Location 1514)

In situations of low stress and safety, mind-wandering will be a gift, a pleasure, a creative force. In situations of high stress or danger, mind-wandering will be a torment. (Location 1543)

it’s not your fault you can’t focus. It’s by design. Your distraction is their fuel. (Location 1748)

‘What is technology for? Why do we even make technology? We make technology because it takes the parts of us that are most human and it extends them. That’s what a paintbrush is. That’s what a cello is. That’s what language is. These are technologies that extend some part of us. Technology is not about making us superhuman. It’s about making us extra-human.’ (Location 1841)

making something easy to use doesn’t mean it’s good for humanity’. (Location 1869)

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Stolen Focus