The Anagogic Banker – Momentousness of Distraction

August 30, 2017 OTHER

Wil Stewart photo

 

By

Siddhartha Rastogi

 

 

An average human being is hit by 50,000 to 60,000 thoughts every day. This means a person experiences 35-42 ideas / thoughts/ imageries every minute.

 

That’s a lot of traffic to handle. On top of it, it is expected from each human being to continue doing deep work endlessly, without any distraction.

 

You are expected to drive with complete focus on the road without any distraction!

 

When you are reading or writing or typing an email, you are expected to be in sync with the present moment!

 

You are expected to listen to every conversation of your spouse, your superior, your friends, your relatives with complete focus!

 

Tough call….

 

What if I say that Distraction is good and actually enables you to do deep work and remain focused in any kind of repetitive activity?

 

Before we proceed further, let’s first understand what ‘distraction’ means:

 

I like the Wikipedia definition and hence am using that for the explanation: “Distraction is the process of diverting the attention of an individual or group from a desired area of focus and thereby blocking or diminishing the reception of desired information.”

 

What does diverting of attention mean?

 

It means movement from the current situation or scenario and transporting the same span of thought into past or future.

 

Let me explain this by using some examples:

 

1). When you travel economy class in a flight spanning over 12 -14 hours, leg room is limited and hence space is cramped. At the same time, you have an unruly neighbor sitting next to you or in front of you constantly nudging your elbow or pushing his seat behind. After repeated requests, he is not budging (people seldom change in seconds). You have a smart pretty / good looking airhostess / steward who worries about you and repeatedly enquires about your well-being shifting your focus from current situation to a pleasant conversation. This makes you feel more comfortable and amenable to handle the current pain or inconvenience of the next 12 -14 hours. Imagine if you are travelling for holiday or leisure, the thought of future fun and future enjoyment keeps you going and helps you face the challenges of your current cramped seat with unruly passengers. Most long distance flights have entertainment options for passengers to keep them distracted.

 

2). Most army personnel deputed in difficult terrain survive through the ordeal by visualizing the future of returning home and spending time with family. Although once the army personnel come back the joy is short-lived. However, the distraction of future happiness, where the mind doesn’t distinguish between long term and short term, keeps him/ her suffer the ordeal.

 

3). Sanguineness is one of the strongest distractions and politicians worldwide use it very effectively. In the recent case of demonetization in India, communication on the hope of change and future benefit arising from it made sure that a large number of people who suffered personal and professional setbacks underwent the process without complaining too much. Their attention was distracted by plausible advantage which would accrue to them in future and to every common man.

 

4). Past images are a great distracting tool. When you fall ill or have to go through extreme pain, you navigate back in the memory lane and think of periods when you enjoyed life due to good health. Those pictures aid you to cross the current trauma and subconsciously promise you that the current intervention or surgery can bring you back in good shape, thereby reducing your pain and increasing your stamina and ability to pass through agony.

 

 

Most humans spend 50% to 80% of their time doing things they don’t really enjoy. The reasons can be multiple, including lack of choice, repetitive work, tedious tasks, lack of ability, lack of interest, lack of motivation, etc. But what keeps you going is distraction.

 

Exercising is boring, but just as you complete your workout you feel nice. Similarly, reading balance sheets, studying financial reports, learning about every investment in detail is cumbersome but making money out of it is fun.

 

Thus The Anagogic banker says, “Distraction is extremely powerful, so long as you don’t use it to kill your priorities.”

 

 

 

 

 

Siddhartha Rastogi

Siddhartha Rastogi

Siddhartha was born to a learned middle class educated family in Semi Urban India. His father was an extremely honest man who because of his honesty had to pay the price in corporate world. Mother is a determined woman who ensured that children are being well taken care off. After a few years of birth, doctors called Siddhartha, a slow child having flat foot. He would fall more than he could walk. Determined mother ensured all therapies for her son to come out strong to fight the world. Siddhartha joined swimming when he was in 6th standard. Seeing other children of his class, he jumped in 10 feet deep pool and learnt swimming on his own, the very same day.

From that day there was no looking back. He topped his city in 12th and went to score highest in his B school exams. During his profession as banker, he became youngest branch manager of a MNC bank managing their biggest wealth branch in the country. There he found love of his life and got married. His love of his life emerged in the form of his daughter who completely changed him for good.

Siddhartha Rastogi is Director for a boutique Investment bank in India.

Siddhartha is a forward looking thinker & writer who has written a book on decision making. 8 Simple steps to effective decision making.

He writes on various social and current issues via his blog and can also be found on twitter.

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