“You become what you give your attention to.” – Epictetus
It often makes me marvel with wonder when I read from authors who lived thousands of years ago and realize that people in bygone millennia were concerned with the same issues and notions as we are today.
Speaking over 1,800 years ago, Epictetus could little have predicted the age of technology where we find ourselves now nor the limitless distractions it would create as a consequence.
The moment we wake up in the morning we are hounded by various apps, products, and companies all vying for our attention, pumping the message that we are incomplete until we buy this or that into our consciousness.
It isn’t just media that vies for our attention. Even in the days of Epictetus, human beings had to choose to direct their focus. Any number of distractions could steal our attention and shift our focus from what really mattered. There was no shortage of gossip, extravagant parties, vices, or general complaints about one’s life that could steal our mind.
Now, just as then, our duty and responsibility is to remain focused on our goals, our values, and our character. Temptation and distraction will be ever-present, but we must recognize that we are what we give our attention to. Do not be tempted into gossip, frivolity, laziness, worry, concern or any other distraction. Focus on being a good person, on helping others, on improving yourself, and on being happy.