On the Board of Mis-Directors
and Their Relationship
to Distractions and Seductions
by Karen Williams and Diana Kardia
Do you know who you are, where you want to go, what you want to create with your life? How are you doing in making that happen?
Do you sometimes find yourself diverted from that path, and wondering how it happened? Wondering how you managed to spend 8 hours on email and internet surfing, or a lot more time than you had planned on a volunteer activity?
If so, you have met Distractions and Seductions.
We can distract ourselves away from what we truly desire in life by filling our time with things that “need” to be done or things we comfort ourselves with. We can also seduce ourselves away from our heart’s desire by becoming engrossed in things that suck up huge amounts of time without much benefit.
And who stands behind Distractions and Seductions?
You guessed it: Your Board of Mis-Directors! Who are they? Here’s their own introduction from their web site (emphasis added):
Our dedicated Board Members – known in some circles as your internal voices, inner dialogue, inner critic, etc. - bring the most effective tools, tricks and technologies to help keep you safe from risky, ill-advised decisions, actions, relationships, and life changes.
Yes, that’s right. Those same voices that tell you how badly you’ve screwed something up, how unlikely you are to succeed in some endeavor, how many obligations you still have to fulfill before you can think of yourself as a decent son/daughter/citizen/human being, and so on – they are the very same voices that lead you into Distractions and Seductions.
To see how that is so, let’s just look briefly at what Distractions and Seductions are.
Distractions are things we see as important, but which do not actually serve our priorities. They are often things which do need to be done, but not as frequently or in the timing that we do them in distraction mode. We can distract ourselves with routine activities, such as email, eating, or laundry, as well as with things others prompt us to do, such as volunteer activities or favors.
We can also distract ourselves with activities that simply comfort us. Familiar tv programs, food, and alcohol can fall into this category. Often this is the only kind of pleasure we feel we can choose.
we are convinced that we don’t have time to do what we really want to do.
Seductions, too, generally fall into two categories. The first is new ideas or directions that seem incredibly compelling – so compelling that we just follow them, without bothering to evaluate their true value. Things that promise big gain for little investment, such as get-rich-quick schemes, often fall here. The second is activities that are just engrossing, and which can draw us in and keep us going for hours or days on end – for little ultimate benefit. Internet research is a good example of this type of seduction.
With seductions, we are led away from our actual priorities by the prospect of success without effort, or just around the next corner. In other words, we think the unknown has got to be better, easier than our current plans or prospects.
You’ve heard the phrase “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence”?
Distractions and Seductions are some of the most effective techniques Your Board has to keep you immobilized. After all, what can you really do in terms of self-growth or pursuing something new when you’re enmeshed in checking email, doing the dishes, watching tv, and browsing the internet for the latest information on Britney Spears or the presidential candidates?
How the Board Encourages Distractions and Seductions
Your Board creates a fertile internal environment, one ripe for action. But the actions that grow best in their ecosphere are Distractions and Seductions.
Board member The Critic is particularly effective in this area. A few remarks from The Critic about how slow you’ve been to respond to important emails in the past can up your email-checking rate considerably. Similarly, an ongoing tirade about what it takes to be a good friend or church member can encourage us to take on enough social or volunteer activities that we no longer have time for anything but the basics of life (if that).
The Forgetter allows us to become engrossed in unimportant things by helping us to lose track of time, to forget that we had intended to devote this time to something different.
This is not, ultimately, about thinking, or even about “thinking positive.” It goes much deeper. It is about knowing without question or doubt that what you have to contribute from your own genius, whatever that is, is worth the time and energy that you put into it. And that the world will challenge you as surely as the sun rises in the morning, just to test your resolve.
The Rewarder is also frighteningly effective here. Feeling overwhelmed? Over-obligated? (Note how the work of The Rewarder and The Critic complement each other!) Too tired to work on that project you’ve been trying to make time for? Why not watch a little tv – a few movies, the entire season’s episodes of Top Chef, a basketball game or two? Or, if you want something a little more active, how about Googling global warming? And while you’re at it, why not have a quart of ice cream or a six-pack of Bud? The Rewarder tells you you deserve it, and promises that it will feel good, in the moment.
What Can We Do?
Awareness is the key. We must become aware of those times when we choose Distractions and Seductions, and, ultimately, aware of why we choose them so we can make different choices.
The more aware we are of this process, the more effective we can be at sidestepping it. To that end, tuning in to the voices of our Board, rather than just letting them rule us, is incredibly useful. Then, we must bring our true intentions, as well as proper value for our own contributions, to our decision-making.
For more about the Board of Mis-Directors,
see our article,
The Board of Mis-Directors:
Can our internal dialogue really have its own web site?!?!?!!?
or visit their web site: www.boardofmisdirectors.com
(but be careful not to be drawn in!).
If you'd like to explore how Distractions and Seductions play out in your life,
check out our Distractions and Seductions Workbook.
You can reach us at .