Do you have attention deficit disorder? I’m not talking about ADHD here, but the much more spread-out capacity that we have, not to pay attention to the obvious… Like, when was the last time you looked for your glasses, which were on your head? Or maybe even, on your nose?
What 3 bottles of water reminded me about attention
A while ago, I was watching a masterclass. At the end of it, the speaker asked this question:”I have been drinking water through the masterclass. Did you notice I used three different bottles?”
And… I totally didn’t! I must have seen it, but I didn’t registered this information.
Is it important? Not so much. I was more interested by the content and got what I wanted from the masterclass.
But we do this all day long. We delete information based on where we direct our attention. All. the. time.
And this is great! Because we need to do some things in an automatic way, and we have only a certain amount of attention available; like driving for example. If someone on the passenger’s seat started talking when we have to focus on the circulation, you would probably just delete what s/he says.
It is a normal behavior of human beings, it even has a name: Inatentional blindness.
And it even gets better (or worse, depending on how you look at it): we can also be blind to change. There is a great example of that in the third video in the resources.
And if you mix it with psychological biases (like for example the negative / positive bias of seeing the glass half empty / full), you’re set for some pretty awesome fun with yourself!
So is this ever a problem?
Our intention is directing our attention. And intentions can be patterns of thinking, mindset, beliefs, which can be conscious, or not.
So when we are not aware of our intention, and therefore don’t really choose intentionally where our attention goes, then we might be deleting important information without knowing it.
Because, consciously or not, depending on our mindset, we focus on some things and delete others.
We don’t see what there is… We see what we think there is.
Want to play?
My question for you then is:
How does it show up in your life?
What is something that you might be deleting? Something that might be useful to see, but your attention is not geared towards.
And is there something you are focusing on, that is preventing you to notice another more useful element?
Not so easy to see, because it is something that your mind does, and your tools for observing it is… your mind!
Selective attention test (from Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris)
If you know That test, try this one on the video below 😉
Inattentional Blindness: Chris Chabris at TEDxAlbany 2011
If you are curious about the experiments I am referring to in the podcast, especially the “asking for direction” one.
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