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Device Attention Disorder

by David Brock on April 26th, 2019

I was backing out of a parking space. All of a sudden, the car starts beeping then slams to a stop. Someone was crossing behind me, I was oblivious–I hadn’t been paying attention.

My car has all sorts of things that are supposed to be “helpful” to me. There are cameras, sensors, radar everywhere. In addition to the back up protection, if I start to drift from my lane, it corrects me. If I come up to fast on the car in front of me, it slows me down. It provides warnings if it senses I’m not attentive, and on and on.

Unconsciously, while these things are supposed to help me pay attention, the exact opposite has happened. I’m paying attention less. I’m relying too much on the technology.

Unwittingly, I am less present and less engaged.

The event backing up the car was a big wake up call–in more ways than one. I’ve turned off most of the expensive technology in my car, forcing me to pay attention to be present while I’m driving.

But we’ve surrendered too much of our lives to technology. In meetings, we are no longer “present.” We are distracted by our devices, a vibration, an alert, a text in the middle of a meeting and we are some place else.

“Excuse me, I missed that, can you repeat yourself…….”

What is happening elsewhere has become more important than the thing we are doing or the people we are with right now. One starts wondering, “if being somewhere else–wherever that might be–why are we wasting the time of whoever we are with, at whatever meeting we happen to be in?”

Our fear of missing out on things very distant, is causing us to miss out on the things immediately surrounding us, that which we probably should be paying the most attention to.

Like it or not, sales, management, leadership is about people. It’s about being engaged with people. It’s about understanding their dreams, challenges, feelings. It’s about engaging them and being engaged by them. Through that considering new ideas, changing, and growing. It’s about being connected with other humans and being connected though our emotions.

The more we surrender our attention to our devices, the more we become incapable of engaging and being engaged.

The more we surrender our attention to our devices, the less engaged we are. As a result, the less able we are to do what we are supposed to be doing.

Technology and our devices enable us to do great things, but they are unable to do the things we human being can do–that is connect with and engage other human beings.

If that’s what’s important, than why do we allow ourselves to be distracted?

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