In Is Google Making Us Stupid?, Nicholas Carr describes his personal experiences with the trouble he has when it comes to reading a book nowadays and truly staying focused.
Immersing myself in a book or a lengthy article used to be easy. My mind would get caught up in the narrative or the turns of the argument, and I’d spend hours strolling through long stretches of prose. That’s rarely the case anymore. Now my concentration often starts to drift after two or three pages. I get fidgety, lose the thread, begin looking for something else to do. I feel as if I’m always dragging my wayward brain back to the text. The deep reading that used to come naturally has become a struggle.
It’s safe to say that he is not alone in this. From my own personal experiences, I have always had a difficult time staying focused with little distractions in the surrounding areas. As I began to adapt to small noises and push it into the background to focus, I found a new challenge was simply staying interested in the readings. As Carr stated in his own experience, I have the same issue of my mind wandering off, longing to do something else. As I am sure this is not a small issue anymore nowadays, I believe several others find it difficult to stay focused and immerse themselves completely into their work. I feel the only way I can enjoy working is if it’s something I enjoy, which obviously makes it easier, but the distractions still exist. As technology progresses and our brains have easy access to almost any answer imaginable with Google, this struggle is sure to progress and worsen. It’s pretty frightening to hear that something we hold dear to our hearts, as it becomes an obsession (potentially an unhealthy one at that), can ruin our focus, our train of thought, and our intelligence. How what was created to help us and make our lives easier, may actually only make our lives more difficult and deplete our motor skills. Rather unsettling.