Do you know what is one of our brain’s most underappreciated achievements? It is not our intelligence or our creativity or our courage. It’s our concern! It is important to maintain and direct it intelligently, even in the distracting world of media.
Where you place your attention determines who you become. If you do not decide for yourself which thoughts and images to fill your head with, then others will decide for you… – Epictetus
Attention is our most valuable mental resource. Describes the ability to orientate towards something (orientation), to choose something relevant from the flow of perceptual content (choice) and to engage and focus on that object with your senses (focus). Thus, attention control is a composite service consisting of various subcomponents. Structures in the frontal lobe (the prefrontal cortex) are largely responsible for the brain.
Many other mental abilities come naturally, as our memory, our ability to focus, and even our empathy depend on how well we can control our attention. Because the more mentally we focus on something, the greater the sensory perception and subsequent depth of neural processing.
The essence of interest is that it is not an inexhaustible resource. Aristotle already wrote about the “limits of attention”, that is, your limitation. We can change them relatively quickly or distribute them if necessary; But we can hardly increase its total value. The total amplitude remains the same, as the brain power is only broken down into smaller and smaller parts. The consequences appear at different levels: most thought processes deteriorate, memory deteriorates. Several studies have also been able to demonstrate that frequent changes in attention also lead to stress and dissatisfaction.
Choosing what’s relevant and then focusing on one thing is very difficult for us today, not least because our attention is constantly influenced from the outside. Attractive distractions and attention-grabbing opportunities lie everywhere. Everything looks so tempting, you don’t want to miss anything. In the (media) world, the vast amount of minute information in the form of SMS, emails, pop-ups and new alerts, which we turn to impulsively, means a loss of self-control. Focus wasted on the moment. By drawing our attention, we miss it somewhere else where it might be more important, for example in the office, in traffic, and in dialogue with our fellow human beings.
Scientific studies show that many people today are often overwhelmed by the many opportunities to obtain financial support in their working lives. It seems that everything is important. The result is a constant switch between different things. At the end of the day, your work takes longer, you make more mistakes, and you feel stressed. However, these everyday problems are not an expression of a disease; Rather, it is often the result of poor attention control: today we are mentally a little everywhere at the same time on many things, but ultimately we do not have a proper place.
focus on yourself
Good choice and focus improve thinking and strengthen memory, because sensory impressions are more likely to be transferred to the brain’s long-term memory when you focus on them. You are more likely to memorize a newspaper article to dedicate yourself to in peace and quiet without listening to the radio in the background. In addition, your logical and analytical thinking improves if you focus on the task at hand and your mobile phone does not constantly distract you. This is useful for both Excel spreadsheet and chess game. Your empathy is proven to increase if you fully interact with your conversation partner and listen intently during the video conference rather than editing emails on the side.
Know that not everything around you needs your attention. And she doesn’t deserve everything! Protect your attention from theft. If you are once again surrounded by (digital) attention grabbers who are all tempting to give you instant attention, take a step back and ask yourself the following question: What is relevant now? What is really important at this moment?
You’ll see: This short reversal strengthens your impulse control and prevents theft of a valuable resource. Attention is your intimate intellectual property. You can (and should) decide for yourself what to use it for. In a world full of stimuli and information, this will undoubtedly remain a challenge in the future. But it’s also a goal worth striving for, because good choice and focus reward your brain with an increase in performance while at the same time feeling more serene and contented.
In my new book, I will tell you how you can make your brain work at its best in the digital world. Clear your mind so you can think more clearly, work more focused, and solve problems more creatively.
Readers of the bank blog have a chance to win a free copy. Write a comment below the article by March 25, 2022, explaining what you are particularly interested in about the book.
The book will be drawn among all readers who have submitted a comment. The winner will be notified by email and must provide their full address within a week. The book prize will be sent directly to the winner.
By commenting, you agree to these Instructions / Terms of Participation.