It is rare that I see someone in public without a phone in hand and earbuds protruding from his or her ears; someone who is not distracted. Thus I have come to ask myself is, what are we trying to distract ourselves from?
Many of us are afraid of silence. That is, we can’t stand the feeling of being bored — can’t stand having to deal with the noise inside our own heads.
Sometimes I feel like a dog jumping after the light as it flash on the wall, jumping after that alluring light instead of taking the time to think for myself; what am I doing and why? This, I think, Is similar to the way many of us mindlessly check our phones throughout the day. To see a notification pop up and semi-automatically clicking on it; chasing that alluring light. And in chasing the light we do not have to think.
My own experience with mindlessly checking my phone is that I usually make up excuses for myself along the lines of “I just want to check x”. Well, I don’t really need to check x at that moment, but it is my brain’s way of making sense of things in a way that reflects better on me. The real reason is likely that I am like that dog jumping after a light on the wall, chasing short term gratification and seeking an escape.
The pulling force of short-term gratification is, I think, an important confounding factors, and this in and of itself is connected to our biology; our heritage. We like to feel good and unfortunately what feels good in the moment may be bad for us in the long-term. The allure of abundant food and seemingly unlimited entertainment is not to be underestimated. How easy is it not to give into the temptation of binging a series on Netflix, even when you have other things to do that are more important to you? I trust that you may relate to that feeling, as well as the shame that may follow. Was it worth it?
I want to end this short rant by encouraging yourself to ask one simple question; are you afraid of silence?