According to various studies, and in particular the study carried out by Microsoft in 2015, it shows a decline of attention spans in an experiment of 2,000 people. In my opinion, I would definitely argue that the attention span isn't what it use to be. But that doesn't mean it can't be fixed.
Carr makes a very interesting point near the end of his book by saying;
“The price we pay to assume technology’s power is alienation. The toll can be particularly high with our intellectual technologies. The tools of the mind amplify and in turn numb the most intimate, the most human, of our natural capacities—those for reason, perception, memory, emotion”. Nicholas Carr
I completely agree with Carr, we have indeed traded our attention for modern technology that offers to supplement our thinking. In turn, the brain has been rewired not to recognise deep work as an important part of our life. If we really want to improve our attention span let’s not just complain about it, but rather make a conscious effort to create distraction-free spaces so that our mind can work uninterrupted.
I’m not saying for one minute that we get rid of all our mobile phones, computers and any other devices that draw our attention. Rather learn to know when we need them, and when we don’t. Carr says this near the start of his book;
“The plow changed the outlook of the farmer, the microscope opened new worlds of mental exploration for the scientist––it is our intellectual technologies that have the greatest and most lasting power over what and how we think”Nicholas Carr
We shouldn’t be using technology as the scapegoat for our lack of attention, technology enables us to do amazing things and opens our mind up to new ideas and possibilities we didn’t think possible. But we shouldn’t be fooled by the hooks and infinity loops of technology and let the devices control us.
I believe that even though our brains have been rewired due to the change in society, we can improve the attention span again. It’s not an easy task and just because you’ve made the conscious effort to focus your attention and drown out distractions, doesn’t mean everyone and everything around you will suddenly just stop fighting for your attention. Internet technology is showing no signs of slowing down, so if you learn to focus on deep uninterrupted work in your personal and work life, you’ll be one of the few that focus on the work, not the distractions. And you might even read that book you’ve been putting off for so long.Bibliography → ← Previous