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  • Writer's pictureGiacomino Nicolazzo

Once Around The Bowl...


ONCE AROUND THE BOWL...

Edition 62. March 2024


When you capture their interest, you don’t need to worry about their attention span.

Diana Monti


I am going to be honest with everyone today...


I was extremely disappointed, quite saddened and more than a little pissed off last month. The overall response (on Facebook) to my monthly blog was pathetic.


It reminded me once again why I left social media for a year.


I was hoping, while expressing my sadness, disappointment and anger with Diana at lunch this afternoon, that she would somehow comfort me. But alas...that was not to be.


“I don’t want to be harsh with you, amore,” she declared, “but it’s your own fault!”


“My fault?” I shot back. “You know how much time and effort goes into that blog. It is an immense amount of work. How can you possibly say it is my fault?”


“As I recall, isn’t this is the same reaction you had when people weren’t responding to your daily screen savers as much as you wanted them to?” she asked.


My response to that was to say nothing. But she didn’t stop. She went on...


“Aren’t you the one telling us we should not have expectations when it comes to other people’s performance?”


“Are you scolding me now?”


“Aren’t you constantly preaching about acceptance...of the way things are?”


I went quiet...


“Don’t you recommend trusting in the process and believing in the outcome?”


“Now you are just being mean,” I mumbled.


“Aren’t you Mr. Positivity?”


“Basta!” I shouted, pushing myself away from the table. “I’ve heard enough!”


“So, you are giving up again?” she asked. “Good! I’m glad You were happier throughout this last year than I have ever seen you, when you were off social media .”


“You are right,” I answered. “As usual, you see things more clearly than I do.”


“That is because I am not as emotionally invested in all this,” she answered. “I don’t share your passion. And, to be honest with you, I know a few things that you don’t!”


A few hours later I received an email...it was from Diana. There was no message. Just a link for me to click on. Here is a sampling of what I read...


Did you know the average attention span of a human is only 8.25 seconds?

This is 4.25 seconds less than in the year 2000.


Attention spans vary among individuals and can be affected by age and gender...

 

Younger people usually have longer attention spans.

Women usually have longer attention spans than men.


The average person spends less than three minutes watching a video on the internet before turning it off to search for another.


The average person will read only three to four short paragraphs of an internet article before getting bored.


The average audience member attending a class or lecture can listen to and grasp about eight to ten minutes of the content before drifting off to other unrelated thoughts.


The majority of people have a shorter attention span while using mobile devices.


An average person checks their phone 58 times a day.


Multi-tasking reduces a person’s attention span by up to 40%. Their brain loses focus every 8 seconds.


“So, what is your point?” I shouted from my writing room in utter frustration, knowing she was in the kitchen. “Are you telling me I am responsible for their short attention spans?”


“No baboo!” she said, just suddenly appearing in my doorway. “I am not saying that at all. But I am saying you contribute to it because you are a chiacchierone! Don’t you remember when I told you that living with you is like having an all-talk radio station playing twenty-four hours a day?”


“I’ve tried to put that out of my mind,” I said jokingly. “It was a bit harsh! I can’t help it. I’ve always been this way. Even my mother told me I was a jabber box when I was a little boy. I just always seem to have a lot to say.”


“And this is one of the million things I love about you,” she said, finally saying something comforting. “But you fail to realize that most of the people to whom you are writing are easily distracted. Even though your blogs are filled with great passion and helpful information, they are too long. Forgive me but...they are immensely too long.”


“So, what are you saying?” I asked, “I should write shorter blogs? Risking not being able to get my point across?”


“No,” she answered. “I am not saying that at all. I am just telling you to drop the expectations. Expect nothing! No one owes you anything. When you realize this, you are freed from expecting what isn’t likely to be.”


Damn her. She was quoting from one of my own books...


“You owe it to yourself to write the best blog you possibly can,” she continued. “And if you believe it takes four or five pages to do that...well, only you can say. If someone reads it, from start to finish, it’s because they want to. It is because you are giving them something meaningful enough that they feel the need to keep reading. When you capture their interest, you don’t need to worry about their attention span. Not everyone will. And I know you know this.”


With this being said, here (as briefly as I can) is this month’s blog...


Life is being destroyed by all the distractions...


With more distractions than ever before on the internet, social media and our environment, most people are just not able to focus for long periods of time. These days, most of us live our lives tethered to our computers and smartphones, which are unending sources of distraction.


Research has shown that over the past couple of decades people’s attention spans have shrunk in measurable ways.


Simply put...


the internet and our digital devices have affected our ability to focus.


Multitasking has become stressful. But understanding the science of attention can help anyone to regain their focus when they need it.


When was the last time you had an entire day completely free from digital distractions?


no text messages

no email notifications

no social media

no aimless internet browsing


If you are anything like me, it might be hard to think of the last time you even had a tech- free hour, let alone an entire day. Sometimes it can feel impossible to concentrate deeply on anything for any significant length of time.


Over the past few decades, people's attention spans have shrunk considerably. For the record, the 8.25 second attention span claim I cited earlier from the website Diana sent me has since been debunked. We are actually much better than goldfish when it comes to paying attention...


Though we are tied with squirrels!


But this is not to say that the rise of the internet and our compulsive use of digital devices has not significantly affected our ability to focus and pay attention.


Think about the amount of time you spend on social media platforms. Today, it is so easy to get swept up in it, spending hours falling deeper into the rabbit hole without thinking too much about it.


Picking up a mobile phone and zoning out while scrolling through videos and photos and writing comments seems to have become the human pastime of choice. Many of us are often not even aware of it.


If this describes you, perhaps it is time to remove the object of your obsession. Maybe it is time to begin finding your way back to a normal life again. Maybe it is time to deactivate your social media accounts.


Quit and never look back


When I made this very decision, one thing that became clear to me early on, was that there were far too many beautiful things in my life that I had hardly been noticing. By dropping out of social media, I freed myself up to actually pay attention to the world around me. I felt as if I was discovering new things every day.


I was able to reconnect with life in a most satisfying way


However, what became even more evident was the positive change in the way in which I viewed myself. Although I present myself as confident and self-assured, the truth is I have never been that kind of person. There are many aspects of my life of which I am either deeply unsatisfied or downright horrified.


But soon after deleting social media from my life, my self-confidence increased dramatically. I was finding ways to fix the many of the things of which I was unhappy. I came to embrace my life for what it is and appreciate what I have, without worrying about what I don’t have or what I would alter about myself.


Now I have more time for things that I enjoy. Things that can and do improve my life...


growing and eating my own very healthy food

going into my home gym every evening to exercise

sitting at my desk, writing stories that are yearning to get out of me

deeper prayer and more vivid meditation.


My quality of sleep has significantly improved. I genuinely feel happy, hopeful and well rested when I wake each morning...something I have struggled with for a long time and never understood why.


I have returned to my woodshop, and I am building furniture again. I am sitting in my studio, writing music and playing my guitar and piano like I did years ago.


I never understood how much my life was being controlled by what I saw online and on social media until I decided to make a change.


Last month I wrote about the nightmare that the last four years has posed for many of us. I am left with mixed emotions about the future as well. From wars to pandemics, politics to pollution, extremism to moral insanity...


my heart and mind have been churning


It’s easy to let the turmoil of the world weigh us down. And it’s just as easy to keep ourselves so busy that we don’t have to feel much of anything. But, there’s another option. A better choice. If we choose, we can...


slow down and start paying attention


The simple decision to quit social media has given me...


more focus

more reverence

more presence

more of “me” in my life


It has halted me in my tracks and shown me what really matters once again. And my heart is bursting with gratitude.


So today I would like to share a brief excerpt from my upcoming book, TRUST IN THE PROCESS. BELIEVE IN THE OUTCOME. I have been writing it since December of 2021. I have picked it up and put it down a hundred times...due to distractions, but now it is nearly finished. My hope is that when it is finally published, it will bring hope and love and clarity to those who will take the time to read it. Here goes...


“Living life in the fast lane may get us where we think we want to be, and in a hurry, but it is shocking how much we miss along the way. Everyone is busy. There are mouths to feed, bills to pay, things to get done. It’s not a bad thing to be busy. It is a part of life. But too often we fail to see the beauty and richness simply because we’re moving too fast.


The slower path is the path of patience

and

the gift of patience is the opportunity to pay attention.


Slowing down, breathing deeply and taking a good, long look around enables us to see our many gifts, our important lessons, our blessings and our strengths. We get to choose to appreciate and learn from them. Sometimes life’s circumstances will do it for us, but more often than not slowing down is a choice we must make for ourselves. It usually takes conscious effort to slow down and pay attention.


Calm is something we must go after

whereas

stress is something that pursues us


It is precisely when stress is coming after us that we most need to slow down and pay attention. Paying attention to the beauty around us, rather than focusing on the chaos, can calm us and open our eyes to what really matters. Paying attention involves all our senses...


watching a spider weave its web

listening to a bird’s song

smelling dinner cooking on the stove,

tasting the salt of a falling tear

feeling the softness of a child’s hand


By paying attention to the beauty of the world in which we live, we begin to actually experience it on a visceral level.


But perhaps the most effective way to experience true peace and calm is by sitting still and searching within ourselves. For the last year I have made this simple exercise a part of my morning routine...


I sit in the overstuffed chair near the fireplace. The morning sun streams in, bathing the room in a soft, warm glow.


I close my eyes and I get comfortable. I place both my feet flatly on the floor. I weave my fingers together and rest them on my lap.


I inhale deeply through my nose, counting slowly to four beneath my breath. I hold that breath in my lungs while I slowly count to seven. Then I slowly exhale through my mouth to a slow count of eight.


I repeat this five times


Then, with my eyes still closed, I imagine I am entering a dark room. This room holds all the contents of my life...


all my emotions

all my relationships

all my experiences

all my successes

all my failures

all my dreams

all my desires

all my hopes


Carrying a candle in my hand, I close the door behind me. Quickly I become enveloped in deep blackness. I strike a match and light the candle.


I begin walking around the room illuminating every nook, corner and crevice. I am taking a good, long look at the good and bad contents of my life...


my fruitful activities

my wasted time

my loving relationships

relationship in which I’ve failed

what makes me calm

what causes me stressed

my successes

my failures

my blessings,

my weaknesses

my strengths


I can see clearly the areas that need improvement. I am grateful and appreciative of all the good I see. All the little things that I have missed along the way are there on display as well.


I do not judge


Instead, I focus on letting myself see everything. And when I have seen what I need to see, I turn and walk back to the door. I step back into the light and blow out the candle.


I find myself still sitting in that overstuffed chair. The sun is still streaming through the window.


My eyes are still closed, and I am wonderfully comfortable. My feet are still flatly placed on the floor. My fingers are still woven together, resting on my lap. I am just I left myself.


Again, I inhale deeply through my nose, counting slowly to four beneath my breath.


Again, I hold that breath in my lungs while I slowly count to seven.


And again, I slowly exhale through my mouth to a slow count of eight.


I repeat this five more times.


Then I open my eyes and I stand up...ready to begin my day


As I set out on my way, I find myself opting for the slower, scenic route. I notice more of the richness life has to offer. I see more of the beautiful moments shining right in front of me. I feel a bit foolish for how much I’ve missed by not paying attention...


I see my life exactly as it is

I see where I have been

I see to where it is I am headed


I realize it is me alone who decides if I need to alter my course or stay on my heading...


When I am paying attention I can’t help but be filled with gratitude and peace

When I am paying attention I no longer miss the jewels sparkling in the gutter


Now I see them. Now I choose to bend down and pick them up. And I become a little bit richer each time I slow down and choose to pay attention.


I hope you made it to the end today. Try as I might to be brief, I just can’t do it.

 

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5 Comments


cleencglothlin
Mar 15

I am draw back to read every word. Every word, every word. Life screams, life hurts, life lacks answers. But maybe, if I could find your calm, I could see the jewels in the gutter. I don’t need value, but I do need meaning. I thought I need someone to understand, but instead I needed to know it is all worthwhile.

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C Lee McGlothlin
C Lee McGlothlin
Mar 07

“just can’t do it.” Thankfully — for those who need to hear it. For whom, you never ask, you can’t know. But we exist, and you are compelled. Thankfully !!

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msukc
Mar 04

I apparently just didn't scroll down far enough - thank you for the help! I enjoyed this blog very much and like Diane below, my life is filled with distractions and lack of focus. I just shared a meme that came my way on FB that said something about being an adult is saying "after this week things will slow down" over and over until we die and I find myself saying that all the time! I'm 86 (next month) and still do all the bookkeeping for our family business that my husband began in 1969. Our grandson now owns it and as he said, he can put Grandpa out to pasture but not Grandma. Some days it's…

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Diane Pieri Kos
Diane Pieri Kos
Mar 04

I read this thoroughly while waiting for my doctor’s appointment. You are so right in everything you are saying. We are full of distractions and focus. That is me at the moment. I will return to this excellent blog and reread as soon as time permits. That is life today. Should have stayed tucked away in my beloved Tuscan hills where the beauty was the major distraction.

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Giacomino Nicolazzo
Giacomino Nicolazzo
Mar 04
Replying to

Diana, I am afraid your closing comment is 100% true. You would be much better off had you stayed here. I know you had your reasons for going back to the US, and they were noble ones. You did what was right for your family. I have been intensely watching, studying and analyzing the goings on around the world, not only here in the EU but in the US, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and China. It is my studied opinion that we are on the verge of a most horrific world disaster. The people pulling the strings on the Biden puppet have intentionally and strategically lit fires in already highly volatile regions of the world. They have set the fuses…

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