The Hallowed Glow of Digital Distraction

The brain’s craving for novelty, constant stimulation and immediate gratification creates something called a “compulsion loop.” Like lab rats and drug addicts, we need more and more to get the same effect.

Endless access to new information also easily overloads our working memory. When we reach cognitive overload, our ability to transfer learning to long-term memory significantly deteriorates. It’s as if our brain has become a full cup of water and anything more poured into it starts to spill out.

I’ve known all of this for a long time. I started writing about it 20 years ago. I teach it to clients every day. I just never really believed it could become so true of me.

The first step in progress is acceptance. From Addicted to Distraction from the NY Times. 1

  1. Yes, I posted this in the middle of the day, at work, where I should be doing other things.

This Must be the Imposter Convention

It’s hard to look at my impostor syndrome as the worst thing in the world — it has spurned me on to do better, work harder, and aim higher.  On an emotional and mental level, however, it has been debilitating and difficult to get past.  I’ve gone entire days without writing a meaningful line of code due to my lack of confidence.  Other times I take that feeling and crush it by overcoming development obstacles.

If a person like David can be as successful and well-known as he is and still feel the haunt of the imposter syndrome, then I’m in good company.


David Letterman and 33 Years of Experience

“I don’t know that we ever did get back the right way. It didn’t start to settle down until it couldn’t be more clear that Jay was the more popular show. And when we all realized that there’s not much we can do here — you can’t put toothpaste back in the tube — then we started going our own way again. I think it was just inevitability. The guy in the race who spends more time looking over his shoulder, well, that’s the mistake. For two years, I made that mistake. We ran out of steam.”

From the New York Time’s interview with David Letterman as he reflects on his career. I enjoy reading stories of folks who are older and more experienced than I. They often have so much good advice and unique perspectives. Letterman is no exception.


Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People

“Above all, he has shown that profitability and integrity can go hand in hand. Tim has done this while introducing, time and again, some of the most innovative products the world has ever seen. Tim Cook is proof that even the most successful companies can and should be judged by more than just their bottom line.”

I could quote the entire feature. I love that not only are the people mentioned in this list inspiring, but so too are the authors penning their entry.

Sympathy First

Let’s say you think the harassment, doxxing and hate brought onto others under the umbrella of GG is awful and don’t associate with that part of the hashtag. Let’s say you’re able to articulate that very clearly. The problem is, your stalwart association with a hashtag shows a glaring blind spot in your ability to understand and empathize with other people. It shows you don’t get that labelling your opinions with something so compromised makes you careless at best and an asshole at worst.

This article from Duncan Fyfe over at The Campo Santo Quarterly Review summarizes my feeling over the regressive thoughts people leaned on early in this whole kerfuffle – and some still hold close to this day.

Ng, adding to Vanaman’s comments, says: “I wouldn’t want to work with anyone who doesn’t have the empathy, emotional intelligence or common sense to get why that hashtag is hurtful to many people. It doesn’t matter if skill-wise that person is literally the best on earth.”

Bingo. Even a passing defender or someone who argued, “Well maybe the women did that bad stuff those men on the Internet said” is a person I’d not want to associate with. If your first reaction to hearing something like this is disbelief, not empathy, then you’re probably an asshole.