Positive thinking has a great deal to be said for it.
Fearful thinking has a lot to be said for it too.
Scattered thinking has a lot to be said about it.
To think positively is to use our minds in a constructive way to achieve, to resolve, to help, to withstand, to do what we can about our lives and the circumstances in which we find ourselves.
To think fearfully is to allow our minds use us to stumble, to hesitate, to become confused, to capitulate in the face of adversity and become victims of circumstance.
But fearful thinking can also be a protector. Our minds and our perceptions are geared to make us afraid when fear is appropriate. Depending on who we are and what we do, we might face down the threat from another human, or run from it. Faced by a wild and hungry tiger, fear can be really helpful. It can propel us to find, with amazing speed, whatever means there is to safety.
Scattered thinking though, is something else. It throws us into a state of confusion and bewilderment. That can interfere with any rational or helpful thinking.
Scattered thinking is a habit.
It’s becoming more prevalent by the year. It undermines our ability to react and respond in an appropriate way to life.
Concentration spans are reducing. Twelve years ago an experiment done by Intel indicated that our attention span was somewhere in the region of twelve seconds. A recent similar experiment indicated that the span had reduced to eight seconds.
This can make her lives very difficult. It simply means that soluble problems become insoluble not because of any inherent difficulty in the problem, but because of our inability to hold focus on the objective when dealing with that problem.
The above thinking patterns indicate a new low in the use of our minds. We are allowing our minds to become trained in, conditioned to, the grasshopper mentality; where our minds flit from one idea to another, cutting short the possible resolution to a challenge when a few more seconds, or a few more minutes, would see us to a solution.
Disjointed, scattered thinking evaporates our ability to start something, get to the middle, and complete it.
That’s the power of scattered thinking.
Years ago, exercise, vigorous activity, was part of daily life. We didn’t have to consciously train and discipline ourselves to exercise because we got plenty of it every day.
Then sedentary living became a lifestyle, and in order to keep the body fit, healthy and well, we had to introduce a system of exercising to make sure that we retained the activity for which our bodies were designed.
Thinking seems to be going the same way, but in reverse. Years ago we thought of less things, but longer, on any given subject. In other words it had our attention.
But distraction being the force that it is today, we now have to retrain our minds to think of less things, but with more attention on the things about which we do think.
In other words, we need to retrain ourselves to the skill of concentration, just as we had retrain ourselves to exercise.
‘Stay focused’ is the battle cry of modern living. We have the ability. We have the resources. We certainly have the education, but what we lack is the power of concentrated, prolonged and precise focus.
Mindful awareness, meditation, are pathways to the solution of this challenge. Training the mind to hold attention, retain interest, and to see your project through to the end is the benefit of regular, frequent, deliberate practices of mindful awareness and meditation.
It’s a skill. And just like we’ve learned how to allow our thinking to become scattered, we can equally learn how to re-train it to laser-like, precise, and productive attention.
And that’s the truth.