What “they” don’t want you to know about finding a job…
You may be suffering from information overload and the distractions posed by unproductive internet consumption. Personally I have gotten in a bad habit of reading blogs and posting inane comments for the gratification of reader consternation or applause. Working from home exacerbated this condition as there were no corporate constraints against visiting whatever blogs piqued my interest. Your own addictive behavior may have a different structure depending on what social media you consume but the end result is that you are getting mentally fragmented in addition to wasting a colossal amount of time and energy that should be going towards your health and income. For social media hijacks your human need for interpersonal communication and fools your brain into believing you have intimate connections with other hominids.
And it’s tough to break once you are immersed. Our entire country has gone insane over the 2016 election and the social media empires great and small are delivering a daily shit stream of pointless conjecture and commentary that is eagerly lapped up by computer-adled masses.
Now back to my situation, because the internet is all about me. The internet self-organizes to match and amplify our innate narcissism. It is a troublesome yet irresistable mirror. If we could just break the spell of gazing into our own self-absorbed virtual image we could attain limitless horizons using the fountain of information the internet avails us.
Just deciding not to look at it doesn’t work because our brains crave the endorphin rush of instant click-bait gratification and drive our physical shells to open the browser and consume the latest outrage, which is identical to the previous outrage. The memes which drive us operate in 48-72 hour windows, sometimes even more fleeting and ephemeral. And when we are done we feel spent and enervated, perfect victims for our addicted brains to convince us another dose of media will make us feel all better.
Information Overload Has Plagued Us Since the Invention of Printing
Thirty years ago I read “Breathing Space”, which described the problem of information overload and some ways to combat it. This was before the rise of the internet. At that time we were awash in print magazines, newspapers, and TV contrived controversy. Breathing Space advised eliminating horizontal stacks of information (magazine piles), avoiding TV news and media-generated crises to reclaim a sense of peace in a world determined to get your attention everywhere you look. It described why you have have no practical need to be tuned in to every news and that if any news was truly important you would hear about it from friends and family.
Then the internet arrived and added the hook of instant feedback to your personal interaction with the medium. Many of us have succumbed slowly but surely to this time-sucking scourge. As if that weren’t enough, the constant bombardment on our senses by confusing out-of-context imagery, and probably for many of us, porn, wracks our nervous system.
During the middle ages a person was not likely to see 30 graven images in their lifetime. Now we get a torrent pumped into our environment whether we like it or not. For example, have you ever considered or eliminated from your environment the ubiquitous advertising that appears on product packaging such as cereal boxes? When you become aware you realize you are drowning in it. Open your fridge and you are greeted by a happy gap-toothed black child on a cucumber bag. Why? Because in our toxic SJW infested corporate culture every square inch of your viewport must carry diversity signals or teaching moments. Turn on your internet and a disorienting flood of this garbage pours over you.
Realizing the personal cost of paying attention to what’s happening on the internet I have struggled to shut it off. It’s damn hard when all you have to do is hover your mouse over the browser and open up a conversation with people who agree with you worldview and reward you with accolades for your snark. If you work on the computer for income it is just too easy to get this instant gratification instead of getting up and taking a real physical break. Even worse you may well be pouring energy into the shitshow instead of billable work.
Knowing that and confessing you have a problem is the first step. To effectively shut off the distractions you will need to cut the digital cord.
The Benefits of Dropping Out of the Internet
Blogger “Anarcho-Introvert” wrote a great essay on the benefits of shutting it off. The observation that the internet is always trying to sell you something is a good perspective to have whenever you are looking at some website. I am trying to sell my book on this one and maybe do some affiliate marketing, common for low-brow blogs. But many sites are just infested with come-ons and the supporting content could well be computer-generated.
He advises to stop posting comments for other people’s money-making websites and have your own junk blog instead. You can set up a wordpress blog and start blogging in about 10 minutes of work. As for your brilliant comments, they are only reinforcing your narcissism with the delusion of community interaction. Personally I am fed up with website operators deleting my thoughtful, polite comments and banning me while their regulars spew profane insults. My crime is somehow posing a threat to their money-making venture.
When I manage to stay away from it my productivity improves in other parts of my life. Right away I start enjoying reading more from the countless good books that are practically free. Here is a useful book list from Ryan Holiday.
A few years ago I relocated to help my old man and was without internet for a week. Picked up a book off my dad’s stack titled “In the Garden of Beasts” and read it with pleasure straight through. When I left I grabbed another one, “Indecent Exposure” about a 70s-era Columbia corporation scandal that I kept reading from until I made it through the entire book. The coherent themes and lessons gleaned from just those examples has profited me more than all the blogs I have been wastefully following. Your local public library is bursting with excellent books that you can enjoy and then return without cluttering your living space.
But it remains a struggle to keep away from internet distractions. You must take steps to block them out of your life that can’t be defeated or disabled.
Tools That Have Helped : Leechblock and ColdTurkey
ColdTurkey works great for this. You can set up a block list of websites and a timer for how long to block. On my Windows 8 machine I will set it for months which effectively stops me from browsing junk when I should be working. Unfortunately my main PC is a Win 7 box for running a bunch of legacy work-related software, and ColdTurkey won’t work on it (my version that is, you may be able to get it running on your Win 7 with the right browser update).
The other tool that has made a difference and works on my Win 7 box is Leechblock for Firefox. I have removed Windows Internet Explorer and other browsers.
For Leechblock to be effective though you must disable the options in the Firefox add-ons page. Set it up so you have to enter a ridiculous password and only during certain hours, like late, late at night. Otherwise it is too easy to just click to disable and continue on your life-sucking shit quest. One suggestion is to delay the junk sites load time rather than complete shutoff so you get impatient and avoid rechecking the site.
You can add a block list and blockout times to Leechblock. Also you can add a redirect page so when you attempt to visit a crap site it will go to a page you set. I just added Anarcho Introvert’s essay for mine. In the past I had a blank page with this prescient comment posted on the internet 2000 years ago by some troll named “Plutarch” :
Make trial in small things to build up one’s resistance to the vice of curiosity by refraining from reading graffiti and other writing on walls. Taking notice of such things may seem harmless, but the more the mind is allowed to exercise its curiosity on things that are not pertinent the more it will tend to curiosity about unworthy subjects in general. It is better to train oneself to mind noble and useful things.
It has helped me a lot to shut off the information sewer. Since I work from home and use the internet constantly it is a real challenge to avoid it but the benefits are immediate. As I get through more days without visiting the round of websites that agree with my worldview I begin to forget the reason why I need to keep revisiting them in the first place. Donald Trump won the election and thus we have won the troll war. If you can see the BS it’s time to put your energy into more productive pursuits or just enjoy peace and stillness.
As for Employment Game, I will strive to make the content useful tooling for men in search of work and avoid useless political commentary or culture-crap rehashing.