You’re sitting on the subway or bus, trying to read something. A person comes and sits down next to you. They’re in the middle of a loud personal conversation about their friend’s romantic antics. Now, instead of focusing on your reading, you find yourself hearing parts about someone’s love life — and, in fact, you have to consciously focus on ignoring that conversation to get your own reading done.
Most people think it’s easy to ignore these distractions, but it’s not. The brain has a limited amount of functions it can perform at a given time. Distractions and clutter take up some of that space in the brain and reduce the space remaining for things that matter.
Ignoring anything takes energy, and the brain becomes passive.
This all becomes a problem because our lives have so much clutter, both physical, mental and digital. All this creates clutter and the need to ignore, which makes the brain work harder.
Too much stuff burns out the brain. Even though you may think that you have got used to the stuff around and don’t find them distracting, all those things are constantly stimulating your thoughts unconsciously.
It’s about the relationship contexts too. People are often unclear on what they want out of life and partners. They spend time away from priority, trying to manage or ignore toxic relationships, the curated social media lives of their friends, etc.
Your brain energy needs to be spent on true priority tasks. That means value-add work, strong friendships, burgeoning relationships, friends, family, career goals, and the like.