Every coin has two sides. And same is the case with today’s technology. It has made our lives simple and fast, or rather lightning fast. Things which took days or weeks can now be done in mere seconds. But things are not all that rosy as they seem to be. We are paying a price of this convenience by losing some of our precious skills like patience and attention which are more like a lost art these days !
A new unknown word ? Google it ! Who has time to search it in a dictionary ?
Want to inform something to someone ? Email or message ! Who has time to write a letter which will reach the destination in atleast a week’s duration ?
A bug in code ? Google it ! Why waste time trying to correct it yourself ?
Want to read a book ? Download an ebook ! Who has time to buy a real book ?
Want to cook a new recipe ? Search online ! Why experiment ? It may be a disaster !
I could just go on and on …
I don’t mean that doing any of this is wrong. However, some of its aftereffects are ! It has made us so much accustomed to getting results instantaneously, that we have lost our patience. If a webpage takes more than 3 seconds to load then its not worth it ! We want everything immediately. A time lag is just unbearable. And then the same impatience is also evident in our day to day life. We expect everything to be instantaneous. Immediate success, immediate replies from others, immediate delivery of goods, immediate results, immediate solutions. But it is not possible always. And this results in broken expectations leading to anger and grief.
Another shortcoming is that this instant gratification prevents us from trying things ourselves. We would rather believe what others have to say about something that experiencing it ourselves. That’s because others experiences are available instantaneously, however trying out something ourselves requires time and efforts. But the amount of joy and knowledge which one gains by experiencing things oneself can never be learnt from other’s experiences. Also one is more likely to remember and internalize the lessons learnt by oneself than by just knowing other’s experiences and lessons.
Solution – It’s important that we recognize our reducing patience levels and work towards improving it. One of my favorite technique is to learn a new skill. Try learning a new musical instrument or some sport. Learning something new requires a lot of time and patience. One needs to repeatedly do the same thing multiple times in order to perfectly master it. I still remember the numerous number of times i played the seven notes on my keyboard after which i could play it without seeing the keys. Only then did my teacher teach me to play a song on it ! I know it can be difficult. Monotony may lead to boredom and that’s when one feels like giving up. But a little persistence and patience and take us a long way ! Also its very important to remember that the instantaneous results of technology are not applicable always. Some things like growing a tree require time and patience.
Our attention spans have significantly reduced. As one of my Prof. rightly says, one of the major challenges of today’s generation is to survive death by thousand distractions. We are constantly being swarmed with a lot of information, most of which is not all that important. Just count the number of tabs open in your browser right now and you will know what i mean. Email notifications, Facebook updates, News updates, Messages, Music playing in the background and the ever coming Whats-app messages. Just try leaving all things aside and concentrate on a task and the mind jumps back to these sources just to see if there is any important update. We believe that we can do this multitasking, however actually the brain is constantly context switching from task to another leading to an illusion of multitasking. This continuous context-switching deteriorates the quality of information stored in our brain. It is also difficult to filter all the useful information and store it into long term memory. The mind is in a constant state of flux and sadly it is unwilling to return to its original calm and peaceful state.
Solution – “Do one thing at a time !” When you read, just read. When you eat, just eat. When you work, just work. When you enjoy, just enjoy. When you code, just code. Leave multitasking for the gadgets. It may be difficult, but not impossible. It makes life much more simpler and enjoyable. Even i am trying hard to practice this. And i am sure with a bit of patience we all can master it !