The world isn’t a very complicated place for the lion or the gazelle. They are born with the instincts they need to survive, and things haven’t changed much on the plains for tens of thousands of years. If you are a lion, you need to hunt. If you are a gazelle, you need to run faster than a lion.
The world is, was, and always will be a complicated place for human beings. To successfully navigate this world—especially in this Disruptive Age—you need more knowledge, more insight, and more wisdom. You need awareness, yes, but you need to understand the difference between awareness and distraction.
It’s the Economy, Stupid
If you monitor economic conditions, things like the stock market indexes, production, labor, and trade, that information can provide you with knowledge. If you have the experience that gives rise to knowing how to make decisions based on what you see, you may have insight. If you know when and why you should act, you may have wisdom.
But if you obsess over economics and allow the media narratives to drive your behavior, you have moved from awareness to distraction. You have massive control over your personal economy and none over the general economic conditions.
Not Changing Minds
It’s good to keep an eye on the political happenings where you live. You need to know what the issues are, and you need to know who you believe you can trust to govern, who you can trust to lead. It is your right to vote, and many would suggest that it is your responsibility as a citizen, and that means you need to stay informed, so you have the knowledge and wisdom to choose wisely.
But, if you spend your time obsessing over politics and arguing with people on social media because they don’t share your politics, you have moved from awareness to distraction. Your power ends at the voting booth unless you support your candidate enough to join their campaign and work for them. You aren’t changing minds, nor are you likely to have yours changed, regardless of the argument.
Be More Anti-Social
The social channels are a wonderful source of information, entertainment, and community engagement. People you know and trust can curate and synthesize information for you, pointing you at what deserves your time and attention. Your friends, connections, and followers can also point you at entertaining content, all of which can keep you up-to-date with popular culture, something that can make you more interesting and a better conversationalist, even if the content doesn’t rise to knowledge, insight, or wisdom.
The time you spend on the social channels can quickly take you from awareness to distraction by leading you down a rabbit hole of never-ending novelties.
The time you spend in distraction is time that you have stolen from your highest priorities. Your single, finite, non-renewable resource is your most important resource, and you must treat it as such. To do less is to squander this gift.