The Crunch of the Immediate and our Struggle with Information Overload

Information overload has set in. People have been talking about this for quite a few years. But now it is getting serious. Everywhere I go, somebody else is writing about the problem. Too many e-mails. Too many distractions. The people in the United States are losing any ability to take an actual vacation. Most can’t even define the word vacation anymore.

WE ARE TOO BUSY!

And I see no light at the end of this tunnel. We are getting busier by the year/month/week/day. In a recent article in Slate.com, I learned of the news studies being done on how to write the kinds of sentences that people will actually read on line. The article states its opinion of our shrinking attention span: Lazy Eyes: How we read online.

But the real moment of understanding came recently when I finished presenting a book synopsis to a corporate audience. I could tell something was up by the body language. The book was Big Think Strategy, and it trumpeted the value of thinking big think thoughts rather than small think thoughts. It speaks of the value of looking at the big, big picture, of taking bold steps. And all of that requires time to ponder, time to think, time to dream. I asked someone after the presentation about the resistance I was sensing. Then I understood. The thoughts went something like this (my paraphrase): “We would love to think big think thoughts. We would love to think about anything. But we leave this presentation, and our to do list has gotten longer because we have taken time away from our work to think about the latest book. The crunch of the immediate saps the life of dreaming right out of us.”

As I said, it is a serious problem.

But I know this. Thinking — thinking big think thoughts — is part of our work. And if we don’t make time for that, the future might slip right out of our hands.

I don’t have a solution. Any suggestions out there?

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