The following is an excerpt from an upcoming book on technology, distraction, and why training simply is the most effective way to improve your cycling. To get updates and follow the progress of the book please sign up for our newsletter.
“We added new technologies to the periphery of our experience for minor reasons, then woke one morning to discover that they had colonized the core of our daily life”. – Cal Newport
I’m stuck again. Another moment of browsing and reflexively clicking. I’m more animal than human, or maybe there’s no difference? Click, scroll, click, scroll. I forage for information like the squirrels who hunt for acorns in my backyard .
Ever since grade school, when the glories of AOL came screeching through my family’s modem, I’ve been smitten with the internet. I was never a gamer. I found social media more annoying than addicting. But an internet browser? Be still my beating heart.
As I passed through a computer screen, I discovered wormholes of product reviews, forum posts, and cycling articles. The browser’s magical ability to conjure up distraction made it my drug of choice. Dopamine dispensed by the click .
There used to be barriers to my internet habit: The taboo of monopolizing our family phone line, the cost of “per minute” internet access, and finally, the anchor attached to our home computer.
All of those safeguards got torched with the advent of the smartphone, one device offering mobile access to the largest repository of information in the history of the world.
My phone now serves as a pocket-sized portal to an infinite world of interesting shit. Yes, I’m an autonomous human being who can choose how and where to direct my attention, but more times than not, I succumb to the search for acorns. I’m tapping, scrolling, foraging for distraction.
Maybe it’s having kids, perhaps a growing cultural awareness of the costs associated with 24/7 connectivity . Whatever the driving force, I’ve been trying to more fully understand the influence the internet wields over my thoughts, actions, and relationship to cycling.
One thing is certain; the internet’s corrosive impact on my ability to focus and be present isn’t unique. As a species, the internet is reshaping our brain .
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Data Driven Athlete
- Gazzaley, A., DISTRACTED MIND : ancient brains in a high-tech world. 2017, [Place of publication not identified: MIT Press.
- Carr, N., SHALLOWS : what the internet is doing to our brains. 2020, [S.l.]: W W NORTON.