Our society is being highjacked

Thanks to Cal Newport for pointing me towards this site in his latest Study Hacks blogpost, “Beyond Digital Ethics”.

He talks about the work of Tristan Harris and The Centre for Humane Technology from whose website I have taken a page.

What began as a race to monetize our attention is now eroding the pillars of our society: mental healthdemocracysocial relationships, and our children.

What we feel as addiction is part of something much bigger.

There’s an invisible problem that’s affecting all of society.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Google have produced amazing products that have benefited the world enormously. But these companies are also caught in a zero-sum race for our finite attention, which they need to make money. Constantly forced to outperform their competitors, they must use increasingly persuasive techniques to keep us glued. They point AI-driven news feeds, content, and notifications at our minds, continually learning how to hook us more deeply—from our own behavior.

Unfortunately, what’s best for capturing our attention isn’t best for our well-being:

  • Snapchat turns conversations into streaks, redefining how our children measure friendship.
  • Instagram glorifies the picture-perfect life, eroding our self worth.
  • Facebook segregates us into echo chambers, fragmenting our communities.
  • YouTube autoplays the next video within seconds, even if it eats into our sleep.

These are not neutral products.
They are part of a system designed to addict us.

Take a look here.

 

 

The Product Is Not Enough

From the always stimulating Bob Lefsetz – his main thing is music but the lessons apply to most businesses (including my own!)

If you build it they will not come.

Your challenge is getting noticed.

So you may be sitting at home, in your beautiful house, with your beautiful wife, asking me…DIDN’T YOU SAY JUST THE COMPLETE OPPOSITE?

Yes, in the last decade. Things changed. Bob Dylan sang about that, but no one seems to realize the puck keeps moving, and media ain’t hockey, the rules change too.

In a world where people are overwhelmed by content, they don’t want to hear about yours. And the problem is great content gets cast aside as well as horrible content. You did the work and nothing is happening, what’s up?

It’s not your fault. You just have to find a way to run the gauntlet…..

…..Sure, the work is most important.

But that’s when the job is just beginning….

…..Building success is a job and a science unto itself.

Think about it…..

….PS Social networking is for satiating your fans, it’s not where you break your career.

As for promotional stunts, rarely do they succeed, it’s more about hard work.

Link to the full article HERE

 

The Weekend Read. Silence by Erling Kagge.

I thought I would start the New Year with a mention for this absolute gem of a book. It follows on beautifully from Deep Work and Solitude which I have mentioned before. I am grateful to my neighbours Walt and Ann from the other side of the hill here at ReesAcres for their recommendation. They are both mountaineers as is Erling Kagge the book’s author.

We live in a world that is full of noise. Traffic, mobile phones, radio, TV and the other machinery of modern man all conspire to disturb, interrupt and distract us. From what do they distract us? The purity of silence.

Kagge has had a career as a lawyer, publisher and politician but it as an explorer that he has wider acclaim. He was the first person to walk to the South Pole and he describes how he removed the batteries from his radio before exiting the ‘plane at the drop off point. In 1994 he became the first to complete the “Three Poles challenge” – reaching the North & South Poles and the summit of Everest.

These 33 short essays are as much about finding solitude and inner silence and I particularly liked his addressing the need for a control of the chaos in our minds, where we all too often submit to the “noise” of constant sensory input. The quotation of Blaise Pascal’s words of wisdom from the 1600s, “All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone”, struck home. (Are you listening in The White House?)

A lovely little book, that I hope will help you want to experience more silence from this age of noise.

 

The Monday Morning Quote #461

“It’s not how good you are now;

it’s how good you’re going to be that really matters”

Atul Gawande

 

The Science of Human Actions Reactions and Interactions – Kathy Kolbe meets Joe Polish

WATCH: Kathy Kolbe sits down with Joe Polish to talk about human instinct and having the freedom to be yourself.

The Weekend Read – 20,000 Days and Counting by Robert D. Smith

The concept of this book is simple, instead of living your life in years, as most of us do, measure it in days. On the 20,000th day of his life the author decided to test the concept and planned his next 20,000 days.

Written to be read quickly because, as he points out, “life is short”, Robert Smith urges you to read with a sense of urgency, with purpose and anticipation.

I routinely ask my clients what they truly want, and very few of them can come up with a specific answer. My role in life is not only to help them reach their goals but, more importantly, to assist them to find what those goals are.

When was the last time you thought of what you wanted to do with the next portion of your life? I mean sat down on your own for more than a few minutes and planned the next year, the next decade – I suggest that you take time away – a couple of days distanced from the routine day-to-day to think, to consider to decide what it is that you want to achieve, to be. It is rare that anybody does this unprompted.

In late December 2012, my wife and I did just that, instead of indulging in the “one-day, wouldn’t it be nice” we decided to sell our home in Gloucestershire and move to what had been our “holiday home” in West Cork as quickly as possible.

  • What is it easy? No way.
  • Was it the right decision? Without a doubt.
  • Are we happy? Definitely.
  • Might it all come crashing down tomorrow? Of course.  But then “life is dangerous, nobody gets out alive”.
  • “No reserves. No retreats. No regrets.” (William Borden)

“Many men live lives of quiet desperation and die with the music still in them.” wrote Henry Thoreau in Walden, if that describes you in any shape or form then this little book will help you.

The chapters are short, the messages simple yet profound.

Take the time now and visit the day counter at Robert’s website HERE – to see how many days you have been alive – at the time of writing I’m at 23,438. Where  are you and what are you going to do with the rest?

Available from The Book Depository HERE

The Monday Morning Quote #418

“Everything around you that you call life

was made up by people who are no smarter than you.”

Steve Jobs

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