Distracted, disinterested, disengaged, disenchanted and busy
That’s the description my latest book gives to most audiences. The book is called Your Attention Please by Paul B. Brown and Alison Davis. Since that headline almost (but not quite) describes me, I just offer these few thoughts.
When we began thinking about the challenge of capturing people’s attention, we naturally applied our own perspective and experience. “We’re just as busy as anyone else,” we said, “But we haven’t tuned out and stopped paying attention.” In fact, we were consuming more than ever: Digesting three newspapers a day. Avidly reading online newsletters. Carrying a shoulder bag of reading material onto planes and into doctor’s offices. Dreaming about our next vacation, when we could do nothing but sit on a beach and read.
It was that last part, the part about the beach and a book, that made us realize that we’re not like most of the people we need to communicate with. Our idea of heaven is to be someplace where we can read in peace.
Anyone who has spoken to me for more than ten minutes knows that quote could be written by me. So these statistics were startling to me.
- The percentage of adult Americans reading literature has dropped dramatically — by 19 percent — over the past 20 years.
- Today, less than half of adult Americans read literature (46.7 percent, or 96 million people).
- Literary reading is declining among all age groups.
Whether in ministry, life or your family, you need to realize this: you may not have communicated what you think you have. The sermon was half heard, the note was skimmed, the ingredient list on the board was only partially absorbed.
As avid a reader as I am, I wonder how many piece of information I let fly by without really seeing it? Was there a piece of information I needed?