February 09, 2017
By Julia Mossbridge, MA, Ph.D., “Dr. Julia”
Science Director, Focus@Will labs
The first generation to be raised with smartphones is entering college, and professors are letting us know the outcome of this worldwide, uncontrolled experiment in attention modification. It’s clear to professors teaching this generation that something major has changed. Some call it the “ADD generation,” but that’s a flip phrase that confuses a medical diagnosis with personality traits. Others insist it’s not attention that’s a problem — it’s the unwillingness to put time into anything. Or maybe it’s the constant expectation of immediate responses and the unnecessary hypervigilance created by continuous notifications from our devices, called “continuous partial attention” by Linda Stone. For those with patience to read a well-informed opinion on this, see Senk, 2014.
Whether it’s scattered focus or a need for immediate responsiveness, many of us (including those older than millenials) are training ourselves every day to not know how to focus. The important news is that we can actually un-do this training. Here’s how, based on my own experience un-training myself as well as tips from the excellent book The Power of Off.
Let me know if you think of others in your journey to reclaim your focus!
NOTE: While researching and writing this blog post, I kept focused on my work via the scientifically designed and relaxing Neuro Space audio channel, one of many diverse focusing channels created by Focus@Will labs.
About Julia Mossbridge:
I am a parent of a 17-year old composer and a partner to a wonderful human being. I study the science of consciousness, and I give talks about work engagement, authenticity, and aliveness. I am working on changing the culture of Silicon Valley to move it toward a greater appreciation of the gifts of being human (watch a video of me giving an hour-long talk on this topic, and also see this media coverage in PC Mag). I am the author of Unfolding: The Science of Your Soul’s Work, and I co-authored a textbook with Imants Baruss, Transcendent Mind: Re-thinking the Science of Consciousness, published in August 2016 by the American Psychological Association. I am also the Science Director at Focus@Will Labs, Director of the Innovation Lab and a Staff Scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, and a Visiting Scholar in Psychology at Northwestern University.
Colier, N. 2016. The Power of Off: The Mindful Way to Stay Sane in a Virtual World. Louisville, CO: Sounds True.
Senk, S. 2014. Attention to the Text: Delay and the” ADD Generation”. Transformations: The Journal of Inclusive Scholarship and Pedagogy, 25(2), 78-95.