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The Attention Diet

I read the first few sentences of this article and immediately thought to myself, “Yup, this is the world we now live in. Attention spans are dwindling.” And since Monday was back to work for many of us, I figured it was timely.

The piece is about Mark Manson’s new book called, Everything is Fucked: A Book About Hope. In it, he talks about anxiety, depression, intolerance, and the attentional challenges that are, arguably, a result of today’s modern economy.

His proposed solution is something he calls the Attention Diet. Similar to how it’s important not to eat bad things, it’s important, in today’s information economy, not to consume bad things. And like junk food, there’s a lot of junk information fighting for our attention. I like the parallel.

Here are the 3 steps to the Attention Diet:

  1. Correctly identify nutritious information and relationships.
  2. Cut out the junk information and relationships.
  3. Cultivate habits of deeper focus and a longer attention span.

Put even more succinctly, it’s about filtering for quality in a world of endless information. Here’s an interesting line from Mark: “Because in a world with infinite information and opportunity, you don’t grow by knowing or doing moreyou grow by the ability to correctly focus on less.

Related post: The value of saying no.

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