I wish someone would have told me this about things like facebook 15 years ago. We just didn’t know. There is a huge increase in adhd trends in the last few decades. No one can seem to keep focused. I'm sure by now you’ve heard of dopamine. There are pop science articles about it everywhere. They all say we in the developed world, especially the USA, are often looking for our next dopamine boost. Why? What gives us dopamine boosts? Lots of things do but advertisements are virtuosic in their playing with the body’s dopamine system. Hear me out.
I want you to pay for the things you use. Like what exactly? I want you to pay for the apps you use on your phone. Why? Because, When you don’t advertisers do. Then ads pop up unexpectedly, with exactly the thing that you desire and were probably recently talking about. Yes, that’s pretty cool right? I think so. You don’t even have to go looking for the things that you will enjoy they get funneled straight to you! Its cool however there is an unforeseen cost to the consumer. You may access to apps for free that allow you to check on friends, send money to a loved one during a hard time, and generally socialize during a world wide lock down. But there is an invisible cost. It is Attention.
Doctors in ER’s ICU’s and especially surgery are forced to end their shifts after a finite number of hours because science has shown, no matter how smart a person is, a person can only make so many good decisions in one day. The amount of will power we have to resist temptation is finite.
Constantly having adverts pup up and try to sell you something, or donate something, or download something will inevitably wear you down. Your will power may be strong but advertisers know that eventually maybe today maybe next week you WILL buy something from them. Your will power will run out and you will make the first in a series of bad decisions.
That’s why this article is called Pay up if you wanna pay attention. I'm asking you to pay for the things that you use. Software? Apps? Online services? Yes all of them. PAY FOR WHAT YOU USE. I'm not asking or expecting you to delete every free thing on your phone or to delete your facebook. But you have to start and start today.
I can’t stress this enough. Nothing in life is free. Someone somewhere paid for the thing that you are using right now. That person or entity wants something from you in exchange for their investment. Most commonly today that thing is your attention. If your attention and focus is always under attack betting pulled this way and that, then that is precisely what your brain will adapt to. Your brain is built to habituate everything. Habits are efficient and the brain is nothing if not efficient. If every time you try to focus on something and your attention is pulled away even just long enough to close a pop up ad, It will grow to expect your attention to be pulled away anytime that you attempt to focus. Eventually this leads to your brain pulling focus away for you without the need of an ad. Out of habit. This is not a mistake. Your brains favorite thing to do is make habits. Whatever you are doing the most of are the habits that you will adopt. Even passively.
If it’s a habit of yours to use almost exclusively, free apps and free trials, the passive habit created by the ad system informs your brain of what to expect in your future. Eventually your brain expects to have your attention pulled to this news article, that sweater, those jeans or even this refugee crisis without the need for pop ups or flashing lights.
This is why there has been an increase in adult cases of adhd for the first time EVER. Though ADD/adhd has been around a little while previously it was mostly children with the diagnosis. Most were considered to have grown out of it by adult hood. Now we have adulthood ONSET adhd. This is exactly why.
If focus is a struggle for you then pay for what you use! Pay for it up front so you won’t pay for it later with a lower quality of life. Its not a good trade. I know life is expensive and everyone is struggling in many ways including financially. This is still a worthwhile investment. I know how important every dollar can be. I also know your family, your happiness and your quality of life is worth much more. So if your like almost every single person I know and you have trouble focusing this probably has a LOT to do with it.
You will value the things that you use more because you paid money for them. You will also be more likely to spend more time ACTUALLY using them instead of looking at your bills and realizing you forgot to cancel another free trial. By paying for the things that you use you are supporting passionate and productive people who created the things that you use and therefore probably care about the things that you care about.
I just paid $30 for a mushroom identification app for a year (after a 7 day free trial) because I have used it and I like the app (and I don’t like monthly bills.) The people who built it and run it and do the updates should be rewarded for their efforts, passions and creativity for creating such an amazing tool for a beginner mushroom forager like me. I’m very grateful to them and I can either pay them my own money or an advertiser will and ill be slave to their ad system. Now you know how that ends.