Why can’t you pay attention anymore? - Attention Deficit Trait

By Angsuman Chakraborty, Gaea News Network
Monday, May 2, 2005

It may be the greatest irony of the information age.
All of that data flying at you by e-mail, instant message, cell phone, voice mail and BlackBerry–it could actually be making you dumber.

Dr. Edward Hallowell, a psychiatrist who’s studied attention deficit disorder for more than a decade, has identified a related disorder he calls attention deficit trait, and he says it’s reaching epidemic proportions in the corporate world. Unlike attention deficit disorder, or ADD, people aren’t born with ADT. It’s the result, he contends, of the modern workplace, where the constant and relentless chatter coming from our computers, phones and other high-tech devices is diluting our mental powers.

Most of us face it sometime or other, too many meetings, too many phone calls, you know the drill. We can get nothing done then.

What sort of toll does this disorder take on a person?
Hallowell: Aside from underachievement, you don’t ever get the fulfillment of seeing yourself coming up with the ideas you ought to come up with. You don’t get the fulfillment that comes from creative activity. You live at a much more surface level.

I imagine it takes a toll on the organization as well.
Hallowell: Absolutely. Organizations are sacrificing their most valuable asset, namely the imagination and creativity of the brains they employ, by allowing ADT to infest the organization. It’s not that hard to deal with, once you identify it. You need to set limits and preserve time to think. Warren Buffett sits in a little office in the middle of nowhere and spends a lot of his time just thinking. And we are not giving ourselves that opportunity.

In this interview Dr. Hallowell describes the symptoms and his solution is the usual, to stop and think.

He thinks we, technology workers have a good antidote to this. In his words:

Q. I assume that high-tech companies, which are themselves such avid consumers of tech gadgetry, are rife with ADT?

Hallowell: Yes, but they’re also–and this is why I love those people so much–able to say no to it. They’re playful. Play is one of the best antidotes to this. They’re able to rise above it and get around it. The ones who suffer the most in that field are the ones who don’t have the creative powers of the techies, and they just kind of slog along.

Yeah, we rock!

Link via Kuro5hin.


Chris Scanlon
January 25, 2006: 3:16 am

I totally agree with what you’re saying. I wish more people felt this way and took the time to express themselves. Keep up the great work.

Chris Scanlon

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