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Attention is one of the most important currencies of the 21st century with our ability to concentrate being tested now more than ever before. Watch Prem’s thoughts on our attention being overwhelmed.
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Who is winning the battle for our attention?

In the space of a few short years, we have become dependent on our technology; constantly distracted by text message alerts and mobile phone apps and unable to find a moment’s peace amidst the maelstrom of demands for our attention. In this video, Prem discusses how best to navigate your way through this modern world full of new pressures and distractions.

He explores the consequences of spending so much of time ‘plugged in’ and online, and how we can hone in on the one trending topic that matters above all else: peace.

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You pick up your device. You turn it on, and there is, how many emails you have, how many messages you have, updates you have, news flashes you have, and, “boom-boom-boom-boom,” there are your emails; you’re going through your emails; you’re going through your messages; you’re going though this notification, that notification....

And you turn it off, put it away, and all that stops, but not the noise that came through that portal. That’s how it got to you. Now it’s bouncing between your ears. 

Now it’s like, “Well, what-a-what-a-what-a, well, what about this, and what about this, and oh my God, oh, this happened, and that happened, and want to know more, and I want to, and nah-nah....” And then it starts to affect you. Because now you can’t stop it!

See, if there’s a noise outside and you’re trying to sleep, and it’s a bus that keeps running up and down the road, you put in earplugs! But what earplugs do you use to stop the noise that’s between the ears?

So, there are no earplugs for it, because you put in the earplugs, it won’t help! It’s a different kind of noise.

Well, if truly, attention is a currency.... And then, what people are describing, “bombarded,” and so on and so forth, “overwhelmed”—then what really comes to mind is that they’re being robbed. If attention was money, they’re being robbed of that money, that currency.

And who is the thief? Well, there is one thief that is letting the other thieves in! He’s sitting at a critical place, at the doorway—and when those other thieves come, he just opens the door for them.

And there is such a sense in people of wanting to be normal. They want to be just like everybody else. So, if somebody starts talking about a current issue, they want to know—and preferably before that person starts talking about it.

You could say, “Oh, my life. What do I want to think about right now? I don’t want to think about this.” Because you have this privilege in your life. 

You can say, “I don’t want to think about this. I don’t want to be affected by this. I don’t want to be bombarded by this.” And in that way you’re saying, “I don’t want to be robbed anymore; I’m closing this door, and nobody will have the key.”

But one issue is that we want to find somebody to blame for all this: “That it’s all the stuff on the outside, the media, the this, the that, the systems....” But we play right into them. We bring them to us.

You have allowed yourself to get caught up in something that you have forgotten that you have the privilege of not getting caught in. But, well, whatever the reason, once it becomes a habit, it seems to be the normal flow.

You know, “My friend’s going to be talking about this. What if somebody asks me this question? I want to know everything too, as much as my friends know. What’s trending right now—trending? Trending? What is trending right now?” 

I would like to tell you that right now, you’re trending. The day you were born, you started trending—and you’re going to keep on trending till that one day when you don’t trend anymore. And then, nothing of this world will matter to you—that your device can ding all it wants. You will not respond to it. 

So, whilst you’re alive, if you don’t understand that in your life, you are the megatrend—and which way are you going? 

You may not be “artificial intelligence” but you are the real intelligence. That, you are in charge of your life—what you do, what you think. The ability—and I always say this, that “The ability to think is God’s gift to you, and what you think about is your gift to yourself.” 

You cannot abdicate your sense of responsibility, nor your responsibility that you have towards yourself. But a lot of people don’t know themselves, so they don’t understand what that responsibility is. They don’t understand that they have to make a choice every day—that they actually can choose!

Because a person gets overwhelmed when they realize they don’t have a choice anymore—it’s like, becoming mandatory. But when you have a choice, it’s not an issue.

So, this is where see that it belongs, that you understand yourself first—and the privileges you have, and the rights you have, and the power that you have—that you don’t have to buy into this; you don’t have to let the robber rob you.

And then, you should be clearly in control of what you want to get thinking about—what you don’t want to think about—so you can have a balanced life, every day, every hour. A life that is fulfilling, a life that feels good. That you don’t feel overwhelmed; that you don’t feel crazy; you don’t feel like, “Aaaagh!”

Because, nobody’s forcing you; you’re doing it to yourself. And you don’t have to. As simple as that: “You don’t have to.”

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Who is winning the battle for our attention?