Do you Walk your Walk? A Philosophical look at human distractability. (Poll)

Why do humans get distracted? What is it about those people who seem to live completely in control of their every move? What makes them tic? Or what about those who know they shouldn’t eat that second 3/4 pound Philly Cheese Steak…but they still do?
Science would tell us that there are biologic reasons for just about everything. Obesity: Can have it’s biologic root in insulin levels being out of whack, cortisol levels too high, clinical depression, obsession with eating, oral fixations etc…etc…
What about distraction?
I know I shouldn’t eat as many carbs a day as I do…I get distracted with things around me and I forget the logic of eating healthy, or jumping on the tread mill for an hour, or making myself get up and grab my wife and dog and say, “Let’s go for a walk…”
Everyday distractability is a problem for some. For others, it isn’t. What is it about our collective human nature that creates environments of decision making that get ever more complex as the years pass?
Take ones reaction to Job loss. My neighbor lost his job a fews years back. I saw him in his front yard working on the hedges during the day…I walked over to say hello and he told me how he was laid off after 10 years of service. He seemed oddly calm for a man with a family and a mortgage…I asked about the calmness and he said he had a plan…take a few weeks off, regroup and think about making a career change. It sounded ok in my mind and I left it at that and we went on to a different subject. Two weeks later he’s working as the assistant lacrosse coach at an area College, and teaching poly-sci at a different school. Said he always wanted to be a teacher, and missed his lacrosse days from when he was in college. There’s one story.
A highschool buddy of mine lost his job and he went straight to the welfare office to collect unemployment. He had no family and no mortgage. But he’d rather sit infront of his TV all day and let the Gov’t pay for his 13-21 week work hiatus.
Motivations and distractions vary across the boards. They change with every human being. My Question is this:
Do you consider yourself easily distractable from what you say you are going to do with (insert behavior here…diet, nutrition, personality)? If so why, if not, why not?

I’m very easily … oh look a pigeon! … so I told her I wasn’t feeling well and she just said OK … is that where I left my watch?

Diet - I was pretty good about my diet for about 2 1/2 years. But around November, I dropped a bunch of weight with no effort so I slacked off on the diet part. Since then, I’ve eaten what I want to eat and didn’t exercise as often. Now, after gaining back some weight (basically undoing about 8 months of weight loss), I’m back on the horse again. When things get too easy, that’s when I get distracted.

Politics - have been a lifelong liberal. If anything, recently I’ve become more involved and “hardcore”. I haven’t been distracted for four years. Considering how I behave with diet and nutrition, if Kerry wins in Nov. - I’ll probably get less involved though.

Behavior - I’m a complete flake behaviorally. I go through kicks where I try to cease/begin a certain behavior. I’ve tried to:

  1. Stop gossiping
  2. Be more emotionally honest
  3. Smile more
  4. Stop feeling self-pity
    Yeah, none of those lasted more than a couple months.

Honestly, I tend to be pretty good about doing what I say I’m going to.

Diet: I stick to Atkins and take vitamins regularly. I drink eight glasses of water a day.

Exercise: I go to a gym three to four days a week for at least 45 minutes per visit.

Activities: I work part- time (two days a week) and decided it’d be good for me to get out more; so I picked up another day. I also started art lessons with to improve my rather primitive painting skills. (There’s a woman at a gallery in town who is interested in giving me a show and I’d like to paint some new stuff —to be included with the old— before I commit.)

Now… at the risk of sounding too smug, there’s plenty of stuff I just can’t seem to improve on:

Smoking: I’ve cut way back, but I still can’t seem to quit.

Booze: What can I say? I love drinking, and I can put away a lot. It’d be nice to cut back on that too, but I’m having a hard time doing it.

Being Nicer to My Sister: We are total opposites and she drives me nuts most of the time. Hmm. On second thought, we are probably a lot alike, and that may be the problem.

Going to Church: May not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I’d like to attend more regularly.

That’s about it.

I’m confused about your examples. Major life(style) changes such as career moves are not distractions, IMO.

But on a smaller scale, here we go.

I seem to have 2 modes, Laser and Wal-Mart flashlight. Laser Bruce is an amazing thing to behold. If I’m working in Laser mode, I can write the most succinct beautiful code you’ve ever seen. The day will fly by and I’ll be surprized that it’s lunchtime or quittin’ time. Those are the best days. Or if I’m playing music or driving or whatever, it works the same way. It’s like zoning out but without the drool.

Then there’s Flashlight Bruce. Who can’t concentrate on anything. This is usually brought on my distraction, something huge like problems with friends or family or something small, like hunger. I hate these times because I can get nothing done and I can’t focus and the day just drags. Usually I find somewhere on the internet to waste time. Wait a minute. . .

I make it a priority to keep things simple. This personal commandment #4, or something like that.

I started to read the OP because it seemed really important but then I had to know …do they really have a 3/4 pound Philly Cheese Steak because that’s really big and I only had a salad tonight…

What was that you said?

Don’t Ask - Yes, they do really have a 3/4 pound Philly. They also have the One Pounder. No I am not proud of my action when I eat one of those monstrosities. But then again, I only eat them when I am actually IN Philly. :slight_smile:

On a lighter scale, my connection between life(style) changes and distractions is that sometimes people get distracted with everyday mundane tasks and rituals, if you will, that they lose sight of the larger life picture. That is really the only connection. It’s loose, but there is a certain trickle down effect that comes from everyday distraction and acting on your assertions.

Actually to be serious I think that this is a very important question.

When I was Psych nursing, one of the psychiatrists I met was blind. In talking to him I discovered that he went blind (due to some ailment) after he was practising as a doctor. When he found he was going blind he figured out that the only medical speciality that a blind men could follow was psychiatry, so he trained in that.

It seems to be common amongst sportsmen/women that when they hit their lowest ebb they simply shrug it off and overcome their problems. Shane Warne (an Australian cricketer) recently came back from a 12 month ban for taking diuretics. It was just predictable that, with two games under his belt, he would dominate an international series…because that sort of person is like that…dumb as dog shit but possessed of some inner force.

I’m sufficiently OCD by nature that if it’s of sufficient importance to me, I latch onto it like Krazy Glue. That’s not to say that I’m a stranger to procrastination or bad habits, it’s just that there are a lot of things that I theoretically “know” I ought to do but no real sense of commitment to doing them has kicked in (or fails to override my dislike for the tasks involved).

Am I distractible? Ooh, a squirrel!

Huh. Sticking to things is not my forte. But then again, I am a caffeine addict with ADHD…

I think I have the Laser and Floodlight settings too. Laser-Mike has been known to sit and write a beautiful term paper in a single sitting. He’ll clean like Martha Stewart. He’ll cook and ride his bike and run and whatnot.

Floodlight-Mike will play video games and eat frozen pizza and Sonic Coney dogs. With extra chili.

Pressure is the deciding factor I think. If I have something to do I will. If I don’t have any pressure I vege out.

Laser Cityboy can always be found hard at work writing software and considers meals an annoying distraction. Flashlight Cityboy, OTOH, spends most of his time skimming over SDMB threads. :o