Very recently I came across a fascinating article on the subject of distraction. Even for the most focussed and work-efficient people, getting distracted is nigh on impossible to avoid.
So you’re sitting having an intensive discussion with someone and then you hear that faint “ding” from your mobile and immediately you have this almost irresistible urge to know what it is. It could be, at that point, you say those rather familiar but faintly annoying words: “Sorry let me just check that!”
Nir Eyal, the author of the article, explained that in reality the main cause of distraction is not simply some external interruption, some “ding” or buzz, but more frequently something that stirs within us.
So, for example, it may be we’re feeling a bit lonely and so we turn over to Facebook; we may feel uncertain and so we go to Google; perhaps it’s boredom and then we go to the news or the sports headlines.
Right back at beginning we have to wonder whether distraction wasn’t the undoing of us all. There were our first progenitors, Adam and Eve. All was beautiful, all was bliss, nothing was absent or amiss, but then it happened. What happened? Well it was one mighty distraction. The first “ding” in history made its way to Eve’s ear. It hissed: “You’ve got a message – you’d better check it – yes, right away!”
And what a distracting message it was: “Did God really say? …” A first and fatal doubt via a first and fatal distraction.
I wonder whether we’ve simply ended up with the doubt-filled fruit of that distraction. We might say, it was the “ding” that did them in – and now we’re too distracted to know the living God who began everything, once upon a time, with mankind’s full and undistracted attention.