Thursday, September 2, 2010

Blank Page

One cannot help but flit from one subject to another like an insect from one flower to the next. The problem is not the delight that one gets from having many choices but lost of attention due to the myriad distractions. There’s too much going on that one cannot keep one’s peace of mind. Is this the attention deficit syndrome that most psychologists talk about?  Some like the Amen Clinic say it’s a biological problem that can be cured by vitamin supplements like St. John’s Wort or Omega 3 fish oil capsules. Supplements help manage the section of the brain that is over excited or under excited. Sleep and vigorous exercise also help in brain health. These days one would agree that sleep is important and subtle improvements in brain function do occur with more sleep.

But the myriad distraction and information overload are never ending stimuli that perhaps the healthy options mentioned above either block the stimulus or force the brain to be less excited and more focused. Alcohol is the common remedy of most that are not aware of the latest studies on brain health. Others would focus on Eastern remedies like meditation, Yoga and Tai Chi. People like me would combine everything just to make sure; just like Pascal’s wager if God exists. Following the Buddhist principle of an empty mind is not a solution as well. This result in a blank page that’s just as open to external influences as well. One would flit from one subject to another if one does not have a grand plan or strategy.

What are the normal week’s activities of the insect flitter? Go to the gym at least 3 times a week for 30-40 minutes of alternating exercises of running, swimming and doing weights. A simplified Tai Chi – Qigong session every morning for 8 minutes at the start of each week day. Journal writing 1 or 2  times a week after work. But on the reverse side, go to the library each week to borrow 5-10 DVDS, 2-3 music Cd's, 2-3 magazines, 1-2 books and 1-2 audio books. Surf the Internet nearly everyday for about 1-3 hours. Sleep late at about 11 – 12:30 am most days without afternoon naps in the weekend. Occasional cocktails of gin, bourbon whiskey, wine or beer most days of the week. Tinker with the latest gizmo like Idea Pad and Sony Dash that provide additional access to the Internet, fiddle with web sites and download more movies or borrow from the local shopping center.

A case of healthy activities and distracting nonsense with the goal of keeping up to date with the latest news or technology or learning about how to be a great investor, writer, speaker or photographer. One must not forget the time spent attending free webinars and library seminars now and again. A sad tale of frenzied modern life in the suburbs where there’s more free time and money to spend unlike in Asia where one squanders most of the time trapped in traffic, riding a public bus or train to get to work or home. A decline to mediocrity but one gets to go to movies or plays now and again with the family. All is not lost because one does have time to write, discover and learn new things. Perhaps it’s the realization that one has too much free time which cannot be focused to a meaningful activity. Instead, time is wasted.

In the past, one can work long hours in the office and get the job done. These days with most work outsourced to folks in India or Ohio, waiting for input, respecting time zones and work culture (i.e. diversity), work life balance and so on, it’s now impossible to spend one’s free time working.  One has to learn to work in an orchestra than being a lone cowboy. One spends time in distractions or indulgences or perhaps joining clubs like Toastmasters or PMI chapters to engage with the community. At least it’s better than shopping and spending money or going into debt to buys all these stuff in a misguided attempt to bring meaning to life. Maybe that’s the true cause of the financial crisis – finding meaning in gambling and materialism. In this case the solution is timeless: take a hike, smell the flowers and return to nature. Maybe buy a boat, camping equipment and GPS while you’re at it.

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