Old people are a lot better at just being than my generation. I’m sitting in the library, up in the dark confines of the silent section, burrowed away in a corner. It’s a great vantage point for people watching. Scanning around the room, I’d say the average age of people sitting in here is about 65. I’m definitely an outlier. I feel strangely calm, relaxed – and I think I know why.
It’s so refreshing to not be surrounded by people just glued to their phones, mindlessly scrolling, swiping and documenting their ever move. Instead, the people around me are reading. Some are typing away at Word documents, or slowly composing emails. Some are, amazingly, just sitting there. When was the last time you did that? Could you bear it for even a minute?
All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.
This environment makes me feel guilty every time I pick up my phone to check Instagram, or my WordPress stats. It gives me a moments thought, short-circuiting what by now is almost a completely automatic process.
Especially in the light of the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal, perhaps we should all be more mindful about how much of our precious time we spend staring into our phones. There’s still a lot of life to be lived outside the ubiquitous ‘black mirrors‘ we all possess.
I try and meditate every morning. Here are some other useful exercises to help improve your ability to focus. In a world defined by people’s gross inability to pay attention to anything, being able to concentrate can give you an enormous advantage.