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Tag Archives: distractions

A year without the internet – How one man’s courageous and counter-cultural act can teach and inspire us all

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Year without Internet - Paul Miller pic

“In early 2012 I was 26 years old and burnt out. I wanted a break from modern life — the hamster wheel of an email inbox, the constant flood of WWW information which drowned out my sanity. I wanted to escape.”

A good friend linked me to the story of Paul Miller, American journalist and senior editor at a tech news site(!), who recently came back online after a year off the net.

An entire year offline!

I implore you to read his reflection on his year. It’s raw and honest. He wanted to write a novel, quit his job, live with his folks, sit in simplicity. Did he do all of these things? No. Did he give it a good shot? Hell yes! His reflections are full of hope … and failures. Absolutely compelling.

“Do you think you’re too hard on yourself?” Yes.

“Was this year successful?” No.

“What do you want to do when you get back on the internet?” I want to do things for other people.

As the year without sport’s ending comes around to its one year anniversary on the 24th, Miller’s exile got me thinking about what are the great cultural distractions of our time. Read the rest of this entry


Are all distractions worthless?

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Just last week, Mrs YWS hit me with a question that has given me great food for thought – ‘Are all distractions worthless?’

Um, ‘No’…

Well, thanks for reading.


If only it was that easy.

There’s a murky complexity in striking the balance between immersing ourselves in the transcendent and important, and a healthy level of engagement with the fun, less serious aspects of life.

I mean, what can people do who are in genuine need of downtime? There are people who are carers or who give and give in their lives already, looking after family or friends. And those who are perhaps involved in caring professions who struggle to switch off from the myriad needs around them.

And of course there are those of us who are simply stuffed after a day or a week at work.

How can they get a break from their burdens?

Obviously, I don’t think that innumerable hours spent with heads perusing our fantasy football team is the answer, but distractions like fantasy footy, movies, TV, footy tipping, poker etc aren’t in and of themselves worthless.


I do see that we use these activities to medicate ourselves from our overriding issues. We don’t stop and purposefully address our deep levels of fatigue, pain, disillusionment and burnout, creating change to sustain a healthy, balanced pace of life.

We seldom make a habit of examining our habits. For the most part, they are passively acquired. Most of our decisions are made re-actively, not pro-actively. They lack intentionality. Read the rest of this entry

Fantasy football – what is the point?!

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I’ve noted with a wry grin the last couple of weeks that the AFL pre-season has officially kicked in. Though from what I hear, Carlton missed the memo. Same for my Bombers, actually…

Although I try to avoid the newspapers, the saturation advertising means that you can’t help but see the ads for the fantasy football competitions that are set to kick in with the first bounce in Round 1.

For those not in the know, Fantasy Football is known as either Super Coach or Dream Team in Australia. It’s an online competition where you can compete against your friends or complete strangers by selecting a team of players from whichever team you like, with each one having a monetary value.

You’re limited by an overall salary cap, so you just can’t pick a team of stars. Your team collects points for your overall team by the amount of kicks, marks, goals etc that they accumulate each week.

Still with me?!

A mate just informed me that there were 317,651 people who attended the AFL in Round 1, 2011. Fantasy footy is not just a new fad with only a couple of hundred blokes playing. There are over 400,000 players in Australia. So, there’s more people playing fantasy footy than there are people attending the actual games!


There are a myriad of distractions in the world around us, shifting our focus away from what is important, from family, the environment, global poverty, faith, the broken global economic model, to that neighbour down the road who lives alone and has no family or friends. Sit down over a coffee or a beer with a friend and actually see how they are doing – how you can support them, care for them, show them love… Open your ears and be present for one moment and you’ll be amazed at what is lying below the surface of, ‘Good thanks. How are you?’ Read the rest of this entry