Best-Selling Author Nir Eyal On Focus Techniques (Part 2)

The Goal of Indistractable Hopes To Manage Distractions

As an industry insider as someone who knows how these products are designed, I started to take apart the hook model and create a new model called the indistractible model. This is really a tech positive approach to managing distractions. What I originally set out to do was to write a book about solving this problem of tech distraction. There’s a wide disparity between what the books say in the self-help community and what the academic community says. In fact, the indestructible model came from scientific research. Indistractable is about how to control your attention and choose your life. 

Understanding Distractions

How many times have you gone to work with the intent of tackling that big project, but end up checking some emails? It feels like work. It may even feel like progress, but it is not. If what you intended to do was not that, it is a distraction. So that’s why I define distraction as the opposite of traction. Traction is any action you take that moves you forward in life. It’s an action that you take that you do with intent right. So distraction is any action you take that pulls you away from what you want.

A key concept in the book is that the drive to relieve discomfort is the root cause of behavior. If we want to ask ourselves such an interesting question, we need to ask why do we do things against our better interests. Well, let’s take it a step further. Why do we do anything? The only reason we do anything. Is to avoid discomfort. If you feel lonely, we check Facebook. If you feel uncertain, we use Google. All of these products and services cater to an uncomfortable emotional state. 

Everything we do is to escape discomfort of some sort either physiological or psychological. So when we have an internal trigger and we recognize that discomfort and we take action to relieve that discomfort, then what happens? 

Solutions To Handling Pain

In order to relieve that discomfort, there are two actions we can take. One action is to meditate to diffuse the discomfort and angst we are feeling. However, I don’t recommend that course of action. Instead, I prefer to identify and fix the source of the discomfort. That is the second option we have in relieving our discomfort. 

The reasoning behind my preference is that it helps us understand why we feel distracted. When we understand the reason as to why we are distracted, we become one step closer to mastering our internal triggers. In a nutshell, mediation allows one to cope with the discomfort, which is okay. On the other hand, identifying the discomfort and acting on it empowers individuals to have more control over their lives. 

Click here for Part 1

Click here for Part 3

About the speaker
Nir Eyal Bestselling Author Member

Nir Eyal is a bestselling author whose first book - Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products - focused on teaching design behavior in Silicon Valley product teams. His next book - Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life - provides a guidebook for getting the best of technology without letting it get the best of us. Prior to publishing these titles, Nir served as CEO at AdNectar and Sunshine Business Development. In addition, Nir lectured at Stanford's Graduate School of Business and Institute of Design. Nir holds an MBA from Stanford University and currently lives in NYC.

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