I dare you to watch this entire video. I dare you to watch this entire video. No skipping ahead, no pausing. No opening another tab and letting this play in the background. I dare you to sit still, and do nothing but watch a single 3-minute Internet video. It’s difficult for you, isn’t it? You’re becoming bored. Your brain is beginning to itch inside your skull, begging for a morsel of distraction from the Internet. And you’re holding it together for now, but the truth is, you’re frightened.
It’s been so long since you’ve tried to focus like this, that, you don’t know if you can do it anymore. And this video IS boring, isn’t it? Maybe you think it’s a trick, that there are some reward for sticking it out. You think that at 2 minutes and 50 seconds, a funny message will appear for a frame or two, and you’ll only see it if you watch the whole thing. You’ve probably already scrubbed along the bottom of the progress bar and see if that happens, right? Well, it doesn’t. There’s no joke, no prize. There’s just you, and this video. Either you watch it, or you don’t. I dare you to watch it.
But the obstacles are mounting. That was an email. That was a new post on Instagram. That was a celebrity who just died on Twitter. Maybe it was Shack. Everyone’s tweeting about Shack’s death, and you’re missing it. Are you comfortable with that?
… (silence) …
That was 10 seconds, but it felt like a year, didn’t it? A decade of instantaneous entertainment has made you so mentally soft and fat, that you find even 10 seconds of boredom excruciating. How sad.
Remember when you were a child? You could spend an entire hour watching an ant crawl across the rock. One afternoon you checked out a library book, and you were so engrossed that you read the entire thing in just one day. When was the last time that happened to you? The truth is, you’re weaker now.
Attention is the scalpel you used to cut away the fat from your life, but the Internet has robbed you of it, and now, instead of choosing what you experience, you drift from tab to tab full of content you hate, like a hungry ghost who will never be full. Your life is filtering through your fingers, and you’re doing nothing to stop it, but if you watch this entire video, if you make the choice to sit and be bored for these 180 seconds, you will have finally taken the first step in regaining control over the one truly unrenewable resource in life — your time.
Less than 3 minutes ago, I dared you to watch this entire video. In a moment, you will have won, or lost, and only you will know the difference. Either way, the dare will be over. To decide what you will do with the rest of your life, you’ll have to dare yourself.