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Understanding the psychology of distraction

Nir Eyal | 3:13


 So when we try and understand distraction, we have to understand what distraction is. Not. The opposite of distraction is not focus, the opposite of distraction. Is traction. Both words come from the same Latin root tahare, which means to pull, and both end in the same six letter word, A C T I N. It spells action.

So traction is any action that pulls you towards what you want, things that you are doing with intent. Now, the opposite of traction is. Dis traction. Anything you do that pulls you away from what you plan to do with intent. So this is incredibly important to understand this distinction because of two reasons.

Number one, it frees us from this ridiculous moral hierarchy that somehow your pastime is morally inferior to my pastime. You playing Candy Crush, that's not okay, but me watching football for three hours, yeah, that's perfectly fine. That's. Anything you plan to do with intent is traction. If as long it's in line with your values, it's perfectly okay.

Now, what we don't wanna do is to stumble into dis traction, and this happens oftentimes when we think we are doing something that benefits us. For example, we sit down at our desk and we say, we're definitely going to work on that big project.

Right after we check that email or right after we look at that slack channel or Google something real quick, it might feel worky, it might feel productive, but it's, if it's not, what you plan to do with your time is just as much of a pernicious distraction.

So when we think about why we get distracted, we need to go a layer deeper to really start with the fundamentals of why we do everything that we do. And it turns out that all human motivation, if you ask most people, why do we do what we do? They will tell you some form of carrots and sticks. Now, this is known as f.

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