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Want To Double Your Chance Of Success? Acquire This New IQ In Today’s World

Want To Double Your Chance Of Success? Acquire This New IQ In Today’s World

How much time do you spend surfing the internet? It might be a crucial part of your work or take up a big part of your personal time. Either way, most of us are glued to the never-ending stream of information at our fingertips and it may be becoming increasingly detrimental to our attention and ability for success.

How? Purely by the way the internet is changing how we focus. Now a normal, everyday habit of today’s society, being distracted by technology, has affected how deeply we think and, in turn, it’s affecting the way in which we live.

Developing The Art of Detrimental Distraction

The author of Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, Cal Newport, has commented on the increasing loss in people’s ability to focus.

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“The ability to perform deep work is becoming increasingly rare at exactly the same time it is becoming increasingly valuable in our economy. As a consequence, the few who cultivate this skill, and then make it the core of their working life, will thrive.”  –  Cal Newport

While the internet serves many advantages such as sheer access of useful data and ease of connection with others, the way you use it could determine your success in work, education and even your personal life.

The younger generations that have now grown up not knowing life before the internet, are particularly susceptible. However, we are all in danger of being affected. The core problem is distraction and the way we can use the internet to open up opportunities for endless procrastination.

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We all know focus is the number one key to get anything done, whether it’s a menial activity or a major project. But like many habits, we as internet advocates, have managed to develop the instant ability to distract ourselves several times throughout a task – to the point where we don’t always realise we’re doing it.

Your Ability To Focus Will Determine How You Thrive

The trouble with this is, while we feel we’re rewarding ourselves by generating a distraction, we are actually stopping our deeper thinking.

Focus allows us to concentrate on the central point of what we’re trying to do and taking away this focus, even for a small moment, means we need to make extra effort to get ourselves back to that focal point. This detracts from the deep thinking and creates a more shallow thinking. Our willpower – which is highly connected to our focus – also wanes in the process and as we all know, once willpower is compromised it can take extreme effort to get back in the saddle.

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As mentioned earlier, the internet is the biggest distraction we have with many scientific studies coming through backing up how this is affecting our brains.[1] Our focus is slowly but surely declining and this is becoming a huge problem when it comes to our work.

Deep Thinking vs. Shallow Thinking

Cal Newport talks about the development of shallow thinking in today’s distracted world. Shallow thinking or shallow work, is the little tasks we get done such as answering emails, texts or ticking off a to-do list of mundane stuff. It’s stuff that needs doing but the problem is that we’re opting for this shallow work instead of the deep work.

Deep thinking or deep work is when what we are doing is creating value and contributing to our goals. When our brains are filled up with what’s going on in the virtual world of the internet, our real world priorities tend to lean towards the less important tasks.

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As Newport points out, people who can cultivate this dying skill of focus and attention, contributing to the forward movement of ideas and innovative projects, will become the rare few who will thrive in this distraction-based world.

So, what should we do? It’s hard to completely shut ourselves off from the internet and our phones, but trying to reduce the amount of time we spend idly browsing will help immensely. Take note of how often you find yourself distracted without even realising and make a conscious effort to stop yourself.

It could be the difference to how successful or unsuccessful you are.

Reference

[1] The Saturday Essay: Does the Internet Make You Dumber?

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Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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Last Updated on November 15, 2019

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

Habits are hard to kill, and rightly so. They are a part and parcel of your personality traits and mold your character.

However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like tapping fingers when you are nervous and humming songs while you drive. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize easily.

Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time. You will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do on a daily basis starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences to exercise routines are all habits.

Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors, not all of them are healthy. Habitual smoking can be dangerous to your health. Similarly, a habit could also make you lose out on enjoying something to its best – like how some people just cannot stop swaying their bodies when delivering a speech.

Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems, why?

What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?

To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior.[1] Hence, it’s necessary to understand how habits actually form and why they are so difficult to actually get out of.

The Biology

Habits form in a place what we call the subconscious mind in our brain.[2]

Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of system that is fast and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part. This is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.

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The second mode is the conscious mode where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.

A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought into it.

Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious part to the subconscious making it difficult to control.

So, the key idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious.

Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden.

Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up at the same time.

Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that we do without realizing. These make up the majority of our habits and we wouldn’t even know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is to actually identify them. As they are internalized, they need a lot of attention to detail for self-identification. That’s not all.

Habits can be physical, social, and mental, energy-based and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are difficult to break and what can be done about them.

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The Psychology

Habits get engraved into our memories depending on the way we think, feel and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation and studies have observed that various types of conditioning of behavior could affect your habit formations.

Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality.[3] A dog that associates ringing bell to food will start salivating. The same external stimuli such as the sound of church bells can make a person want to pray.

Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit.[4] By encouraging or discouraging an act, individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it.

Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.

What Can You Do To Change a Habit?

Sure, habits are hard to control but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.

Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:

1. Identify Your Habits

As mentioned earlier, habits can be quite subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake.

2. Find out the Impact of Your Habit

Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress or does it give you some pain relief?

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It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could be calming your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.

3. Apply Logic

You don’t need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.

Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your own wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.

4. Choose an Alternative

As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be quite difficult to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.

Say you have the habit of banging your head hard when you are angry. That’s going to be bad for you. Instead, the next time you are angry, just take a deep breath and count to 10. Or maybe start imagining yourself on a luxury yacht. Just think of something that will work for you.

5. Remove Triggers

Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.

Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.

6. Visualize Change

Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop.

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For instance, to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. By continuing this, you would naturally feel better to wake up early and do your new hobby.

7. Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking

Just as how our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts put into breaking a habit.

Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.

Final Thoughts

Changing habits isn’t easy, so do not expect an overnight change!

Habits took a long time to form. It could take a while to completely break out of it. You will have to accept that sometimes you may falter in your efforts. Don’t let negativity seep in when it seems hard. Keep going at it slowly and steadily.

More About Changing Habits

Featured photo credit: Mel via unsplash.com

Reference

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