Why You Cant Pay Attention And Focus Johann Hari Modern Wisdom Podcast 418


Video Creator’s Channel Chris Williamson

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If You Cant Pay Attention, You Cant

achieve your goals? I want to read this book or a bigger goal. I want to write a book. I want to set up a business. I want to be a good dad, Whatever it might be whatever your goals are. If you lose your ability to pay attention.

You Cannot Achieve Those Goals Thats True At

a personal level and that’s true at the level of a whole society right a society of people who are adored and can’t pay attention won’t be able to achieve collective goals Either Johan Hari welcome to the show. Hey Chris good to be with you really glad to have you back man I’m very excited hooray yes precisely so you say that each book that you write is trying to solve or work out a different mystery. Why did you get interested in the mystery? of attention, Oh God you know for so many years. I felt my own attention getting worse. I looked at so many of the people.

I Knew And I Could See

their attention was getting worse. But I was responding to that by saying really by blaming myself like everyone else only was blaming themselves and thinking. Oh you know you’re just weak you’re not strong enough. You don’t have enough willpower um and then I I was. I also reassured myself by saying well every generation feels like this right.

You Can Read Letters From Monks Almost A

thousand years ago, where one of them writes to the other one and says Oh my attention ain’t what it used to be right. It’s not exact quote, but that’s the gist of what they said and I thought okay so this is just you know you get older your attention. gets worse, but really it was looking at the young people in my life and some young people. I love that made me think you know what this really does feel markedly different and then I started looking at some of the studies of this There’s a small study, for example of American college students that found that on average they focus on any one task for 65 seconds and the average office worker focuses on any one task for three minutes. I thought there’s something deeper going on here.

So I Ended Up Going On This

huge journey all over the world. Fortunately, pre-plague. I interviewed over 200 of the leading experts in the world about focus what causes it to boost what causes it to deteriorate. I went from Miami to Moscow to Melbourne and I went to places that have been affected by this attention crisis. all sorts of different ways from a favela in Rio de Janeiro, where attention had collapsed in a particularly disastrous way to an office in New Zealand, where they found an incredible way to boost attention and and what I concluded having met the kind of leading experts in the world Is there’s actually scientific evidence for 12 factors that can boost or or degrade your attention.

Loads Of Those Factors Have Been

really significantly increasing in recent times, and we are in a real and acute attention crisis, which is actually on course to get even worse unless we deal with these deep underlying causes of the crisis. So it is a modern phenomenon. I I’d say it’s the result of very specific things that are happening in the modern world. It’s not just the modern world in itself. We could have the benefits of the modern world without.

Most Of This If We Make The Necessary

adjustments, but it’s definitely this to some degree there’s you know this is a perennial human dilemma, but it’s gotten much worse in response to specific things that are happening now? What was the trip that you took where you sequestered yourself before the plague. You decided to take yourself away with a special needs, big big button phone and and throw yourself on an island. What happened there well. It was a response to something else that happened actually and that was really the reason why I wrote the book so when when he was nine years old, My Godson developed this brief obsession with Elvis. I never understood how he found out about Elvis, but um he would start like obsessively singing viva Las Vegas and suspicious minds, and it was particularly cute because he didn’t know that had.

Become Like A Cheesy Cliche, So

he was doing it with his heart catching sincerity and he kept getting me to tell him the story of Elvis’s life and obviously I tried to skip over the bit where Elvis you know shits himself to death on the toilet um but one night when I was tucking him in. He said to me very intensely said Joham will you take me one day to Graceland and I said yeah sure in the way that you tell nine-year-olds to do something no they’ll forget it the next day and he said no do you really promise you’ll take me to Graceland and I was like yes. I absolutely promise and I didn’t think of it again until 10 years later when so many things have gone wrong. So when he was 15 he dropped out of school and by the time he. He was just constantly alternating between his ipad, his laptop and his iphone and his life was just a blur of whatsapp Youtube porn and and one day we were sitting.

You Cant See It But The Sofa Just

behind the laptop where we’re talking we were sitting there and I was trying to talk to him and it was like he was whirring at the speed of snapchat. It was like nothing still or serious could touch him and it was really distressing and it was distressing partly because I could feel the same thing happening to me. It wasn’t as extreme but I could feel this thing. I was sitting there looking at my own phone, and I suddenly remembered this moment from all those years before and I said to him hey let’s go to graceland and he was like what I didn’t even remember this thing. that happened and so I reminded him and I said look I’ll take to Graceland.

Weve Got To Break This Numbing

routine. But when we go there, you’ve got to leave your phone in the hotel. While we’re away you can’t just be taking it everywhere and he said I promise I’ll do that so we two weeks later we flew from heathrow to new Orleans, which is where we went first anyway. A couple of weeks later, we arrived at Graceland and when you arrive at Graceland. Even pre-covered there’s no person to show you around what happens is they they give you an ipad and you put in earbuds and the ipad shows you around so it says go left go right and every room you’re in it tells you about that room and there’s in every room.

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  • attention getting worse responding
  • attention collapsed particularly disastrous way
  • pay attention achieve goals true
  • pay attention achieve goals want
  • attention
  • focus
  • read
  • book
  • responding

Theres A Digital Representation Of That

room on the ipad. We’re walking around Graceland and I’m noticing that what happens is everyone just walks around Graceland staring at the ipad, I’m getting more and more tense and we got to the jungle room, which was Elvis favorite room in Graceland. It’s kind of loads of fake plants and there’s this Canadian couple next to us and the husband turned to the wife and he said Honey. This is amazing look if you swipe left. You can see the jungle room to the left and if you swipe right you can see the jungle room to the right and I thought he was joking so I looked up and laughed and then him and his wife just started swiping back and forward and and I turned to him and I said but sir there’s an old-fashioned form of swiping you can do it’s called turning your head because look we’re actually.

The Jungle Room Right You Dont Have

to look at a digital representation. We’re literally there and they clearly thought I was insane. I’m sort of backed away understandably, and I turned to my godson to laugh about it, and he was just standing in the corner looking at snapchat because from the minute we landed he was just constantly looking at it. He couldn’t keep his promise and I just lost it. I shouted at him and I said you know you’re afraid of missing out.

But This Is Guaranteeing That Youll Miss

out you’re not being present at your own life. I tried to grab his phone off him and he sort of stomped off, and I wandered around graceland on my own and then that night. I found him in the heartbreak hotel down the street where we were staying where there’s a swimming pool shaped like. a guitar and he was sitting by the swimming pool and and he was looking at his phone and I apologized to him and he said look. I know something is really wrong, but I don’t know what it is and that’s when I thought Oh bleep.

I Need To Look Into This And At

first, I thought well. This is a personal purely personal problem right he can’t stop looking. I can’t stop looking the solution is to do something personal. I thought the problem lay in me and in my phone so I did this very drastic thing. I just I I booked a little place in a beach house in Provincetown, in Cape Cod and I s and I said to everyone I knew look I’m going completely offline for three months.

Im Gonna Have A Phone That Cant Access

the internet. I’m gonna have a laptop. My friend Mtas gave me his old broken laptop that couldn’t get online I’m just I’m just tired of being wired in this way. I’m I’m I’m out of it right and so I went to Provincetown for three months with no phone and it was this kind of it taught me a lot um both about the strengths of that approach and the weaknesses of it and what were they well. The first few weeks were like a haze of decompression and this incredible sense of relief and it’s a very funny place.

Provincetown For People Who Dont Know It Its

a little kind of gay resort town. It’s a place where more than one person makes a full-time living dressing as ursula the villain from the little mermaid and singing songs about Cunnilingus. So it gives you some sense of what it’s like something that sort of. of decompression thinking Oh this is this is this is so good thank God. It was like and then about two weeks in I had this really bitter crash.

I Was Walking Down The Beach

and Provincetown like Grey stand like every place you’ll ever go now was just full of people who were using prototypes one of the most beautiful places in the world. We’re just using Provincetown as a backdrop for their selfies. So you’re seeing these people. It’s particularly painful to see what parents with children doing this who were just never looking around them who were just constantly looking at their phones but instead of thinking. Oh you don’t know how to be present.

I Start Thinking Give Me That Phone.

I bleep want it right and I felt this tremendous craving and I and I realized that for so many years you know. I had been exposed throughout the day to the kind of thin, insistent signals of the internet of the web of the current apps that we use and when those were gone. This is a very pretentious way of.


Johan Hari says he felt his own attention getting worse . He says that people who are adored and can’t pay attention won’t be able to achieve collective goals . Each book that he writes is trying to solve or work out a different mystery . Hari: “If you lose your ability to pay attention, you can’t achieve your goals? I want to read this book or a bigger goal. If you want to set up a business, whatever it might be whatever your goals are.& You cannot achieve those goals that’s true at a personal level.& That’s true in a whole society right a society of people who can’t pay attention.& I looked at so many of the people. I knew and I could see their attention was getting worse. But I was responding to that by blaming myself like everyone else only was blaming themselves and thinking.& But I’m very excited hooray yes precisely so I was. The book is about the mystery of attention…. Click here to read more and watch the full video