I’ve been reading a great book, “Parenting in the Age of Attention Snatchers,” by Lucy Jo Palladino, PhD.
But it’s not just about kids, or parenting.
It’s about brains. Everyone’s brains.
According to experts, we have two kinds of attention—voluntary and involuntary.
Involuntary (or bottom up) attention is where we find ourselves a lot of the time. It’s the pull of social media (maybe even this post), the pull of video games or Netflix or any of the distractions that suddenly, seemingly without warning, grab us.
Voluntary (or top down) attention is the act of CHOOSING where to devote our attention. Voluntary attention is required for things like writing, or learning an instrument, or doing the actual work of our work (rather than distracting ourselves with YouTube videos to “learn” something).
Voluntary attention uses technology as a tool rather than as a toy.
There’s nothing wrong with getting lost in a video game or a new series. As long as we know we are doing it.
But it becomes a problem when it pulls us from what we really want to do. From the thing that might feel hard, but necessary.
And the more you are able to strengthen your voluntary attention, the more you can use it to create what you are called to create.
What practice are you using to increase your voluntary attention? One of my favorites is mindfulness. My son’s is martial arts.