Are you distracting yourself?

I am writing more. I have written for 10 days in a row and it has me thinking when I distract myself with TV and Internet stuff I am insulting my Muse. She comes on her daily rounds and finds me goofing off so she moves on without giving me the coveted idea. Maybe I don’t even know I want the idea she has for me but I would want it if she gave it.

Distraction is the easiest path when confronted by Resistance. What is Resistance? Resistance identifies what we ought to be working on with a tangible force that emanates from the work to be done. Ever feel like you are being pushed physically away from the phone when you need to be making sales calls?

It is a force of nature that opposes anything we choose to do that raises us up a level. A workout routine, walking with your spouse, writing from your heart, helping someone outside your comfort zone. All those and more. Read ‘The War of Art’ by Steven Pressfield for a great perspective on Resistance.

It’s easy to find something else to do. Dishes, laundry, turn on the TV or open the computer and watch cute cat videos. Maybe I’ll answer a few emails or design the ‘killer’ flyer for my overpriced listing that isn’t selling.

It feels like I am getting something done but I’m not doing what I need to.

There are activities you can use to help when you feel like you need to be distracted. Some activities that are on a higher level.

Reading a book. More of the mind is engaged than when watching TV or videos. More engaged than when reading People magazine.

Magazines are like children’s books with less redeeming value. More pictures, fewer words and less information for us to process.

Videos are likely lower information too and we are fed the information that someone else wants to give us at the pace they want to give it. Less open to our imagination. There are exceptions but most 42 minute TV shows (1 hour minus commercials) feed us the standard storyline. Good vs Evil, battle ensues, Good wins (usually). Predictable except for some of the details.

Books engage our imagination. No pictures to cheat with and we are required to think for ourselves, to see more in our own ‘mind’s eye’. It’s why most people say the books are better than the movies.

Music may be a helpful distraction. I was not always convinced about that but my Tuesday Night Tunes series has taught me otherwise. There is an emotional component existing in music. It brings back feelings, smells and memories that would not have been recalled otherwise. I’m not sure all music does that and it might be that different music resonates with different people. For me it’s classical, rock and roll and a taste of Nashville. Not exactly Country but leaning that way a bit. That Nashville thing is hard to ID for me but check out Green River Ordinance for an example of what I am talking about.

Music engages the imagination and memory. No pictures there either but we are required to feel. Ever wonder how emotions are engaged with music. Not lyrics but just notes played. Violin vs Banjo. Cello vs Trumpet. There are emotions involved in each. To me it’s still a mystery but I am working through it, trying to learn. (Did you smile when you thought of banjo music?)

Silence. That is another medium we likely avoid. How long can you handle silence? For me it’s a common thing. I work from home and during the day am alone. Susan is at work and the kids are gone so I am in control of the noise in the house. No TV, no music (frequently) and the only thing I hear is the buzzing in my ears (quieter right now) and sometimes the voice I think might be Gods’. A still small voice that speaks up inside my head but let’s not get too far down that road lest you think I am crazy. Sometimes that voice is Resistance and I have to be careful to hear the message so I can discern who is speaking to me.

I suspect the Muse uses Silence too. She doesn’t speak very loudly and is easily overwhelmed by noise.

So how are you doing with your work? The important things that need to be done but may not be all that urgent? Can you close your computer when a friend calls? Can you shut off the TV and go for a walk with your spouse?

Be intentional about what you do. Don’t move from one urgent task to another in reaction mode. Stop, breathe and think. What will you do next that can move you closer to your goals? Taking 60 seconds to think can change your life.

Do you believe that? Leave a comment if you like.

Thanks for listening,
Jerry Robertson

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