Overloading In The Culture Of Urgency

By Dr. Keith Witt
July 15, 2013
Here’s a great article by ELISHA GOLDSTEIN, PH.D. Do you live in a culture of false urgency?  You think not?  No?  Everything is just fine?  Well what about those push notifications that your iPhone sends you?  Does it beep while you’re sitting with a friend at a café enjoying a nice chai latte?  When your phone beeps, do you break away from your conversation to have a look?  Just a quick look, no big deal; my friend will understand… Why do you do that?  Is it that something so important is happening that you need to break away to deal with it?  Are you really all that important? Who knows?  Maybe you are that important, or maybe that notification can wait.  Perhaps that email is not all that big of a deal, or maybe you can get to it when you return from break, and nothing bad will happen to anybody.  Either way, if your personal behavior has been altered so much that you’re responding immediately to every beep, buzz, and whistle that your phone makes (Pavlov made his point a long time ago) it’s possible that you could use a little break, and redefine some of your priorities. The first question to ask yourself is, do I live in a culture of false urgency, or do I live in my “now?” Enjoy!  

Living in a Brainwashed Culture of Urgency

Whether you like it or not companies know exactly how to get in your brain and control what you’re paying attention to. Everything today is about tricking our brains into a state of urgency. Think about how the news is delivered, “Breaking News.” Or how about how your phones is configured, everything plays to a sound or blinking light that tells our brain, this is something we need to pay attention to right now. Applications have become increasingly popular because they give you up-to-the-minute update alerts on whatever you want from news, to sports scores, to the newest Groupon or sale. Everything is urgent and important. Or so it seems. How do we better understand that this is all an illusion that is occurring in this very era we’re living in? How do we begin to see that this new urgent-based culture is shaping the very structure of neural growth in our brains and therefore changing the way we think and make decisions? What are we missing out on by constantly being drawn to these false urgencies? I tell a story in The Now Effect of a time I was leading a group of people in a classic raisin eating meditation. In this practice you imagine you’re coming down from a distant planet and find this object (which is a raisin) and the intention is to investigate this object as if this was the first time you’ve ever seen it. In order to do this you use all your senses from sight, to touch, to hearing, to smell, and finally taste. Many people have the experience of noticing things about the raisin that they never noticed before, like it has a crackling sound when you move it around near your ear. Or others have the experience of a single raisin being so satisfying. In this one group a man at the end had an “aha” moment. He said, “You know, my whole life I’ve been shoveling raisins down my mouth, handfuls at a time, and it’s only now I realize…I don’t even like raisins.”
[For more continue reading on Psych Central]

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