Too Much Data
Is it that there is too much data vying for our attention or is it perhaps that there's too much of our attention competing for all that data?
It's an interesting consideration because you see, certain populist commentary can lead us to believe that everything out there is the problem – there are too many advertisers, marketers and media outlets who want to sell us on their idea or product.
And to a certain extent that is true.
Everywhere we look someone is trying to sell us something.
All it takes it seems is a motor company or financial institution to flash a bright shiny idea of a better life for us to get sucked in.
They need our attention you see, and if they don't get it then they cease to be relevant. They don't make an impact and they don't make money and therefore they are not viable in commercial terms.
Behind them, the surface level facade of these organisations, there are people.
These people have, just like many of us, invested their sense of self in the job they do or business they are building and if they fail then they are deemed unworthy members of society.
That is the unwritten narrative that lies behind our western industrialised commercially focused culture.
But perhaps the problem is not that in the surface level world of daily human activity there are too many bastards trying to take us for a ride, but rather that we are much too willing to give them our attention.
Maybe we are simply too eager to invest ourselves in them.
It seems we would much rather believe that someone or something out there in the world, some weekend course, self-help book or video series, car or bank loan can help us close the gap between who we believe ourselves to be and who we wish to be.
And so it is that we never get there, wherever we perceive “there” to be.
The promise of a better future these fuckers offered, the one which we so willingly swallowed, never arrives.
The Artist's Manifesto
The Artist's Manifesto is a creative philosophy for life and work. It is a call to artists and creatives like you to immerse yourself in the work for its own sake, create with passion and integrity, and disregard the need for applause and recognition.
Finding Long-Term Fulfilment
Our attention to external sources is switched on almost permanently.
From the moment we get up to the moment we lie down at night our brains are on high alert, seeking out stimulation in TV, mobile phones, and other data sources.
Corporations are training us, and we are allowing ourselves to be trained, towards this always-on mind
And that's pretty much disastrous for creativity.
The moment of drifting into thought has been so clipped by modern technology. Our lives are filled with distraction with smartphones and all the rest. People are so locked into not being present. – Glen Hansard | Musician
Outside sources of stimulation, be that by advertisers, social media, people in praise or criticism of our work or otherwise, serve merely to distract us from the work we are supposed to be doing.
It dilutes our concentration and ability to create meaningful work that ultimately is the only thing that can ever bring us long-term gratification.
It's challenging, for me too it's challenging.
I get sucked in sometimes and I can feel the resulting discomfort come over me.
It takes discipline to correct a brain that has been wired for constant stimulation but the only way I see that you and I can ever make a real difference in the world, or better again, to those closest to us or indeed ourselves, is to shut down and go deep.
Close the door.
Switch off the phone and get stuck in.
Create a space where you can work without distraction and focus your mind on the work that engages you and do it every day for long periods.
Then all of a sudden one day someone will remark at how great it is that thing you just made.
I just don't see an alternative if we are to be happy and fulfilled.