The 9th inescapable truth for a prosperous life in the Intentionomics Blueprint is to ‘Make intentional choices’, and this is referring to developing the success habit of making focused intentional choices of actions that will move you closer to living a happy, flourishing and prosperous life – whether you’re focusing at the time on your work life, your personal life or both.
Intentional choice, which leads to intentional action are life skills that by their very nature require discipline and courage.
The reason is that without the discipline and courage to make intentional choices and to take intentional action, it will be so easy for you to be distracted by all that’s going on around you in the world today.
In the October McKinsey Quarterly, the editor’s choice segment summarises just some of what you can be distracted by with this…
“The worst economic crash in more than 75 years. A world economy with no place to hide. “Always on” connectivity. Widespread distrust of business. Activist shareholders and interest groups. So far, leadership in the 21st century has been a walk on the wild side”.
The focused-distraction paradox
I want to pick up in this post on just one of the trends highlighted here by the McKinsey Quarterly, and that is the “Always On” Connectivity.
Take a moment to watch people walking around the streets, in your workplace, or maybe even in your own home and social events and you will quickly see how many people are existing in a world of focused distraction.
You might be asking how can you be focused and distracted at the same time. The answer is that people are getting focused on being distracted. Here are just three examples: The first is the number of people who leave their ‘notification alarms’ on when new emails arrive on the desktop, or on their mobile smart phone. Usually whatever they’re doing is interrupted and they focus on the distraction of looking at and maybe responding immediately to the email that just arrived. (Liz and I fixed this in our own lives after attending the Priority Management ‘Working smart with outlook’ program – highly recommended)
The second example is the number of people you see who focus on distracting themselves from what’s going on around them by plugging their ear phones in, and tuning the world around them out. Even while in conversation the best they can do is to take only one ear plug out and half listen to what the other person has to say. Walking along the busy street, or driving in their car, they’re so distracted by the real world noises, they miss warning signals from approaching traffic, emergency services sirens and place themselves and others at risk.
The third example which we can throw into this mix, is like a mobile version of the email warning system but on high doses of caffeine, which is being focused on the distraction of people texting you, tweet updates or whatever other incoming distractions are being sent you by friends (real or cyber-based), family, work colleagues, customers or strangers. Watch the number of people around you (and maybe even yourself) getting distracted from a conversation you’re in and while ‘multi-tasking’ their focus, they read and respond by tapping away frantically to the incoming barrage of texts.
“I’ll Decide When I’m On” Connectivity
I’m convinced that for many of us we are at a point where to live with intention, to really be focused on intentional actions that will lead us to living more happy, flourishing and prosperous lives, it’s time to make the intentional choice and to take the intentional action to move from being in an “Always On” Connectivity paradigm, to an “I’ll Decide When I’m On” Connectivity paradigm.
It really isn’t hard, although, I realise for many people they won’t find this appealing. Your friends, colleagues and clients will quickly learn that an immediate response is not going to occur, but that they can trust you in that you will respond… and if it’s really urgent, there are always alternatives to separate the ‘noise’ distractions from the ‘this really is important now’ distractions. For example, a special phone number that only family can use for emergencies etc.
Sure, there are a lot of positives in the “Always On” Connectivity world, the issue here is to work out an intentional plan where you are in control of what you’re focused on… and if it’s that you’re focused on being distracted, just realise the amount of ‘space’ that is taking up in your limited level of conscious focus available, to be intentionally making choices and taking intentional action to live a more happy, flourishing and prosperous life.
You choose – and that’s inescapable in its truth!