Why You Should Let Go of Distractions

All of us want to feel as focused as possible. Most of us want brand new shiny things. Society definitely want us to want brand new shiny things. Things are distractions. We don’t need distractions, and we definitely shouldn’t strive to procure brand new distractions. But still we do. This is where our primary problem arise — the materialism advocated by society versus the simple life preferred by our brains.

Things cause distress. Proof? Easy. Imagine yourself entering the home of two different friends for the first time.

  • The first home is absolutely filled with things, gadgets and luxuries to overabundance — twenty pair of shoes, three vases in each window, two iPads/iPhones/computers per person, old newspapers, the largest TV you’ve ever seen, clothes all over the floor. The list continues.
  • The second home has nothing but the necessary. It’s clean and tidy with a lot of open spaces. Everything has its place, your eyes feel at rest as you know where to lay your gaze. No disturbances, no distractions.

I find myself in this situation quite often, not necessarily in people’s homes (oh well, it happens), but rather when visiting clients’ offices. When entering one of those open and spacious, not necessarily large, offices, I find myself instantly at peace. This is a surrounding where I’m able to focus on what’s next to come. Entering an all messy office, it’s the very opposite . The very first instinct (without any doubts) is to leave instantly.

The same goes for our minds at any situation. Our mind prefers structure and simplicity.

You know that friend of yours who always shows up with that new gadget? The one rushing towards you every Monday morning to show off his brand new set of toys? Yes — that person. Do you find this person happy? Is this person ever satisfied? The answer would inevitably be no, as this is not a balanced state of mind but rather a mind at unrest. A mind constantly in search for short-term dopamine kicks.

To clear things out, I’m not targeting people purchasing with a clearly defined outcome. In need of a suit? Go purchase a suit. In need of new socks? Go buy those socks. In need of a new car? Absolutely, go buy that car already!

What I’m targeting is the obsession of gathering and purchasing things we don’t need. The things that does nothing but cloud your mind, limiting internal clarity and balance. This is where meditation comes into mind — the practice of meditation in your everyday decisions.

Have you heard of mindful eating as a way of dieting? Basically, it’s the practice of being present with yourself as you eat. The key of the diet is not the food (and calories) itself, it’s the careful distinction between eating and consuming food.

The major difference between eating and consuming food can be applied for purchases as well by reviewing yourself and your intents prior to a purchase.

Did I just invent mindful purchasing? Might be so (unfortunately googled proved me wrong). Anyhow, it’s a practice well worth adopting.

In every single way you simplify your life, you’re removing distractions. Distractions, insecurities and doubt — these are all things that haunt us from the inside, causing distress and anxiety. Strip your life from things you don’t need and you have less to worry about, it’s that simple.

How could you apply this to your own life?

There really are no shortcuts — just do it.

  • Don’t want to spend twenty minutes each morning fixing your hair? Easy. Cut it off . No more trouble. No more distraction.
  • Not feeling like wasting time at the supermarket wondering what to eat for breakfast each morning? Eat the same thing. Make it routine.
  • Can’t make up your mind what to wear in the morning? Establish a routine to every Sunday choose what to wear for the upcoming week. Or go as far as some people and wear the same outfit each day.
  • Spending 15 bucks at Starbucks everyday on that Iced Vanilla Spice Latte? Don’t. Purchase a water bottle instead to carry with you throughout the day. Don’t buy anything that does not add value to your life, fact is you’re not only limiting your internal discipline but also your financial freedom. Small purchases add up.
Simplicity is born out of discipline.

These examples above are great starters for simplifying one’s life. Great for getting started, but I would highly recommend one to fully assess their daily lives in order to identify what they can cut off in order to live a more simple and rewarding life. This could be as easy as sitting down for twenty minutes and carefully thinking about simple improvements and how to adress them.

  • Identify areas of your life that you could simplify through twenty minutes of reflective writing.
  • Deduct simple things you could do to improve within each area.
  • Implement one of these every two or three weeks, starting with the improvement offering the largest return on your life quality.

The path to living a more simple life is quite straightforward, all it requires is commitment. Commit yourself to cutting down on choices and things your don’t need, and I’m sure you’ll find your current possessions more satisfying, as well as life in general.

If you want to learn more about simplicity and mindfulness in everyday life, zenhabits it’s a great place for getting started.

Until next time!


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