Take Your Time And Pay Attention
Humans are creatures of habit.
Now, whether that habit is good or bad is another argument entirely, but we do things in cycles and in routines that, if absent, would otherwise make our worlds spin.
That spot on the couch that you always sit at to read or watch TV. The route you always take driving/biking/walking to work. The way you brew your coffee in the morning, or where you walk first after getting out of bed, or what you do first when you get home from a long day at work.
All of these? They’re habits, and whether we recognize it or not, things just seem to happen that way.
Still, the things I listed are probably pretty harmless for the most part. What inspired me to write this came from a realization of the habits in life that maybe aren’t so harmless. I’m talking about the ones that lead to and foster a particularly damaging mindset.
We’ve all seen it. We all know what it looks like, whether it be in the lives of others or that of our own. It’s the New England Patriots riding an undefeated season into the 2008 Super Bowl, where absolutely everyone expected them to win. It’s Margaret Thatcher in her early years as Britain’s prime minister. The inability to stay focused on what’s important and not taking the value of diligence for granted is just as vital the 10,000th time we do something as it is the first time.
Our fast-paced, instant gratification style of life these days is only making it worse. Our boredom with anything that doesn’t have a screen, among other things, has had an impact on the diligence with which projects are put together and, inevitably, the patience and attention span people have for things outside of the realm of technology. This isn’t to say that technology is robbing people entirely of compassion or their capability to think of and accomplish new things, but society’s capacity to take its time putting together well-thought-out projects seems to be slipping.
It’s what seems to have happened with this whole Obamacare debacle. When universal healthcare became a hot-button issue a few years ago, the government hurried to put together a plan to fill that supposed need. But what’s better, a shoddily compiled plan or an intricate and well-designed one that maybe took a few years longer? Or, if the latter was just not possible after exploration and some investment, is the shoddy plan still better, or would it be better to not have one? I’d put my answer on the second of the two in both questions, but that’s not my point.
It bugs me that there’s so many more “reactionaries” today than there are those who think about whatever project, dilemma, thing that’s in front of them. It bothers me even more that (from my own experiences) the current generation seems almost predisposed to this attitude. Am I saying every person in the world today is guilty of this? Of course not. Are there still great ideas and programs and projects being devised today? Absolutely. It’s just the trend that’s bothersome, especially among people my own age and younger.
I’m only now starting to finally take a step back from all the technology and, among other things, breathe again on a regular basis. It’s remarkably enlightening to let my intellect come up for air by reading a book written hundreds of years ago on something other than a backlit computer screen, and I’m finally starting to see the value in letting my future children come from the womb and NOT handing them an iPad to entertain themselves. I’m thankful for the realization that an attraction to technology, gone unchecked, only leads to a dependence on it.
So, what’s the point? We’re creatures of habit, sure. But is habit an inherently bad thing? Mindless habits, sure, but a conscious occurrence where the person is always seeking to better themselves through a willed decision? No way.
Don’t get complacent, and start a new habit.