Since I write and teach about using technology mindfully, many people assume that I’m somehow naturally gifted at that practice. They believe I’m always focused at work and never struggle with distractions when I should be doing something more productive.
In fact, when I tell people about my work in this field, they get embarrassed and think I will look down on them because of how poorly or distractedly they use technology.
I’m in the Same Boat
What I tell them is that I’m just as prone to mindlessly using technology as anybody else. I suspect making positive and healthy use of technology is even more challenging for me — and that’s why I’ve become so obsessed with this topic.
If it came easily and naturally to me, I probably wouldn’t be focused on it at all because I wouldn’t realize the need for improvement.
This reminds me of the founder of one of the karate styles I study. He was a pretty weak, sickly child. It isn’t hard to understand why he turned to karate, as he saw so much benefit from it compared to other children who were naturally strong and athletic.
The main reason I’m saying all of this is to let you know that if you’re having any self-critical thoughts or feelings about how you interact with technology, I’m in the same boat as you are. Even those who have practiced and taught the discipline for many years have expressed difficulties with staying mindful.
There isn’t anything wrong with you.
Focus on Your Improvement
In my experience in several different areas, I found that people who have natural talent in a particular field often aren’t very good at teaching it.
My theory is this: Those who are naturally talented have never had to struggle or work through challenges. There wasn’t much conscious thought behind it. Generally, they are great at demonstrating but often aren’t very effective teachers, as they can’t understand or relate to others’ learning experiences and see what they need to improve.
So when you’re working on being more mindful — even though you may feel like you’re struggling — practice self-examination and you will develop your skill and ability to identify ways to continue being mindful.
Focus on how you’ve improved as a result of your efforts and not just your perceived shortcomings. Have a bit of self-compassion.