“Nothing is worth more than this day.”
– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
December 5, 2018
Nowadays, not a day goes by that individuals are not exposed to constant notifications, texts, videos, apps and daily reminders – these are everywhere. Be it at home, at work, or on the go, these never-ending streams of information drain hundreds of hours off of our schedules yearly.
In fact, according to a study conducted by the University of Southern California in 2013, the average individual in America goes through more than 13 hours of media daily.[Bold Emphasis Added]
Most of it does not add much meaning to our lives either, unfortunately.
Society’s addiction to this overarching all-things-now pattern has increased proportional to our technological advancement, if not more so. Not a day goes by without the instant gratification that is contained within all forms social media, the mainstream media sound-bite reality, texting, on-demand Google answers, and much more. This instant connection to all-things-now has spawned a new type of addiction: addiction to Speed.
In Speed – Facing Our Addiction To Fast and Faster – and Overcoming Our Fear Of Slowing Down, Dr. Stephanie Brown Ph.D. makes the argument that individuals of myriad types have become addicted to the instant gratification that is hyper-prevalent in modern lifestyles. Psychologist Brown notes:
“That gratification comes from two places – the illusion of rapid connection to other people, and immediate access to information we feel we need, be it a Google Map, an investment insight, or the answers to a trivia question.”
This type of addictive behavior can have serious detrimental consequences for individuals. What’s worse, society has acclimated to it in such a way that it’s become natural to operate in such a manner.
What is Dr. Brown noticing exactly? Brown casts light on the matter:
“What I am seeing in my practice as an addiction specialist is that, especially in urban areas, this speed trap is outstripping people’s ability to manage, to fulfill all of their responsibilities, and even to cope. The idea that we literally have at our fingertips the tools to do so much more than we actually have the capacity to do well has created an impossible bind that leads to chronic stress and a sense of failure. You do not have the ability to be on 24/7 like a computer, but you believe you should be able to keep going, and that you will be able to do so if you only try harder. And so you push yourself incessantly, creating an addictive spiral.”
Coming to terms with this, it is crucial as individuals to know that this is taking place in order to be able to tackle this issue head on. Issues that are unknown cannot be solved, and only by employing a proactive approach can individuals be able to displace and conquer such issues.
In order to thwart these subversive circumstances, an examination at the opposite side of the spectrum is at hand. If a full-steam-ahead-no-matter-what approach is what society has become addicted to, then a more mindful, detached, and self-engaged approach stands at the opposite side of that coin.
Mindfulness – the state or quality of being mindful or aware of something – is the first step in overcoming this conundrum. What mindfulness offers is a thoughtful, relaxed, and engaged version of what individuals can are capable of doing when their mind is at ease and focused.
The problem is that this Mindful state of being is nigh never achieved because of the issues noted above by Dr. Brown, as well as others. Another salient and ever-present reason for this is that people get into the bad habit of autopiloting through life without much thought.
One thing Poker has taught me is that many players can engage in autopilot, meaning that they tend to play the game in an automatic fashion without much thought being put into each and every circumstance. Similarly, many, if not most individuals employ this type of approach in daily life.
Some glaring examples of the ways this can be noticed in life are: (1) seeing how many people forget someone’s name after they meet them, or (2) how many people don’t remember a significant portion of their drive on their way home, or even (3) how some people text while driving. There are many more examples, but those are some of the more common ones that help shed light on the matter.
Being cognizant of this, it’s important to keep in mind that mindfulness can only be achieved by being mentally centered, by employing a hyper-focused, top-down approach that allows individuals to ‘be in the moment’.
As Captain J.A. Hatfield once shared:
“The art of resting the mind and the power of dismissing from it all care and worry is probably one of the secrets of our great men.”
If you want to achieve anything significant in life, we must home-in on what we think. As the sage Buddha once noted:
“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make our world.”
What world will you make for yourself: a world where instant gratification controls you, or a mindful life where you control your world?
 Elizabeth Williams, Mary. “Why Every Mind Needs Mindfulness.” Time Special Edition – Mindfulness: The New Science Of Health And Happiness, 2017, p. 10.
 Dr. Stephanie Brown Ph.D., Speed – Facing Our Addiction To Fast & Faster And Overcoming Our Fear Of Slowing Down, p.4
 Ibid., p. 5.
This article is free and open source. You are encouraged and have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez
About The Author:
Zy Marquiez is a Poker Player, CEO, Business Owner, Open-Minded Skeptic, Book Reviewer, Introvert, Researcher, Writer, Creativity Connoisseur, Yoga Dilettante & Carmel Macchiato Addict.