“The sheer availability of information… has launched a tsunami of seeking… at the same time, the information glut contributes to pervasive cynicism, fragmentation, and a sense of helplessness. ” Michael J. Gelb
It seems that more and more people are suffering from the effects of “too much”. “Too much” information, too much work, too much busyness, too much stress, too much …
The “too much” symptoms look a lot like ADHD when you start peeling the onion a bit. People start losing focus, are unable to manage time effectively, forget simple things, and generally feel overwhelmed with their world. The Wall Street Journal just published an article that talks about the fact that many people may be approaching some practical limits of the mind.
Executive function impairment which is thought to be the central issue in ADHD is now impacting a greater part of the population. Recent ADHD statistics show that ADHD is rising in the population. With the rapid increase of information (games, TV, video, internet, etc.) the ability for the brain to process all that information is resulting in stress and decreased brain function.
Looking at the ADHD statistics you can see that there is an increase in overall ADHD incidence. The rate of increase of ADHD could be tied to many factors but one thing that is probably the most pressing is the rate of information growth and information saturation in the lives of young people.
While the appearance of ADHD seems to be growing along with the growth of information it could also be tied to a linear logical system of education where the creative and physical aspects of education are being eliminated. When executive memory function starts decreasing there is a rise in negative behaviors in teenagers and young adults. Finding ways to reduce brain overload is going to be critical as we move towards a more information rich society.
In children executive memory function is increased by taking time to engage in physical and creative arts. It is precisely the things that are being pulled out of the education system marginalizing more and more children. If there was a resurgence of arts and physical activity there would be a wholesale improvement in the education system.
Take this a step further and we see adults being inundated by information and not having the time to take a break from the onslaught of data. Moving away from strict linear logical work would have great benefits.
What do you do?
1. Take creativity breaks
2. Exercise and increase your oxygen uptake.
3. Work on exercises that focus on short term memory work.
As the influx of information increases the symptoms of ADHD will likely increase as the more right brained thinkers slip under the tide of more information. The rate of information growth isn’t going to stop it is only going to increase and in order for children and adults to thrive in this new age more focus and more energy should be applied to practicing things that increase the executive memory function.
Paul Saffo noted that, “Point of view” is that quintessentially human solution to information overload, an intuitive process of reducing things to an essential relevant and manageable minimum. In a world of hyper abundant content, point of view will become the scarcest of resources.”
What do you think? Are we teetering on the edge of information overload? Are we damaging the next generation of leaders by removing the arts and physical activity from our education process? What would you do?