For this week’s process post, I will be reflecting Craig Mod’s article “How I Got My Attention Back?” Craig Mod documents his thoughts and experiences of his 28-day stay at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. During his stay, he disconnects from the internet in attempts to get his attention back. He quotes Blaise Pascal who says that “all of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room.” By disconnecting from the internet, Craig hopes to regain control of his attention. The concept of attention is very applicable to the digital age that we live in today. Ask yourself this, when was the last time you had control of your attention? I certainly cannot remember. This reminds me of a Ted talk that I watched by Tristan Harris. He discusses how we currently live in an age where everything is fighting for our attention. Social media giants are competing with each other for our attention and our time. Notice that most platforms have removed the “next page function” and implemented “infinite scrolling”. Infinite scrolling is put in place for us to stay on the app longer and keep our attention longer. With everything fighting for our attention, we now have shorter attention spans and it is becoming difficult for us to focus and pay attention to the things that really matter in life such as family and in-person interactions. Let me ask you another question, could you be offline for a month? Personally, I think it is possible, but it is going to be super difficult for me. I am exactly like the example of those who spend too much time on their phones whether it be social media or playing mobile games. To be fair, I was never like this in the past, however, the pandemic changed my habits. Being stuck at home for online classes and work is making it difficult to have any in-person/social interaction. As a result, most of us resort to using our phones and the internet to fill this void. I know a lot of people feel the same. At home, we are not as easily governed by our professors and bosses. We need to change this. Personally, during work and online classes, I have been putting my phone away and in silent mode. I also close all unnecessary and unrelated tabs in attempt to stay focused and pay attention to what is important. This will take time as our generation was born into an age of distractions. Like Craig Mod says, “Attention is a muscle”. Like all muscles, they can be trained. With sufficient training and proper habits, we can all regain control of our attention.

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