Divest Day 7 of 21: From Distraction to Attention


In our war economy culture, it seems like there are a million things competing for our attention. Facebook and Instagram notifications, breaking news hits, emails, texts - it all comes in a never-ending second by second stream that most of us indulge. That’s not by accident - our smartphones and accompanying apps are designed to keep us addicted to them in the name of profit.

For many people’s everyday lives, technology has a healthy and beneficial role. But for many others, we have become so distracted by external stimuli that we can’t focus on what’s in front of us. Since the 2016 election, news stories about Trump in particular have gone into hyperdrive and a lot of us find ourselves glued to the headlines, automatically clicking every one that fills our news feed. It’s important to be informed, but sometimes we get caught up in things we can’t actually do anything about, which paralyzes us from taking action on the things we can do something about.

Why does distraction feel better sometimes? Does it mask our anxiety and help us avoid our discomfort with the current conditions of life? Temporarily covering up our overwhelm with distraction won’t remove it.

Today’s Pivot

Today, notice all the moments in your day where you become distracted. When this happens, ask yourself why. 

How do you find yourself back in attention? What can bring you back to awareness of the present moment?

What do you want your attention to be creating? Is it?

PS: I asked students at UCLA for their thoughts on attention and distraction- check it out here!


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