Grown-ups are overrated nowadays

Author: Ben Kench

A recent study at the University of California examined concentration in the workplace. They found that adults’ attention span is on a rapid, worrying decline.

In 2004, it was 3 minutes. In 2012, 1 minute 15 seconds. By 2014, 59.4 seconds.

This means the average office worker can maintain pure focus for less than a minute – and if the trend trucks on at the same rate, the average concentration span will hit absolute zero within five years. That’s a really scary thought.

But also a huge opportunity, if you can beat the curve. That’s where your inner child comes in.

The average 5-6 year old can attend to an interesting task for 15 minutes.

By 7-8 attention span rises to half an hour, with the ability to shake off minor distractions without a problem.

If you could concentrate like a child does, you’d be a productivity powerhouse – your ‘to do’ list wouldn’t stand a chance…and neither would your competitors.

So practice concentrating while playing with your kids – they’ll help you ‘grow down.’

Growing up, in many ways, is the last thing we should want, both for our children and ourselves.
It’s often said that ‘children are the future,’ but they’re not really: they’re the present.

Adults go through life partly clinging to the past and partly preparing for the future (and worrying about both, probably).

A child is unshakably in the moment, while they go about their ‘business’: being curious, experimental and inventive without limits. If a child wants to paint a landscape with a bright orange sky and a stripy elephant wearing pink football boots, they do.

A grown up would think, ‘that’s not the way we usually do things.’ This corruption of our innate creativity is one of the major downsides of being an ‘elder and wiser. ’

Grown-ups need to get back to nature. When was the last time you played? And not video games, something that needs a bit of imagination. Playing silly buggers, playing the fool. Found unbridled joy in something? Got lost in the moment?

Turn off your phone and play with your kids, no distractions. Rise to their level. Stretch your imagination to breaking point – see if you can be as ‘silly’ as them.

Except they’re not silly, they’re just creatively uninhibited and used to making the most of the moment, unhindered by fear. Sounds great right? As much as you teach you kids, let them teach you: if you’re going beat the “attention crunch,” you need to wise up and grow down.

Here’s to being much more childlike! 🙂

Ben x

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