Inattention from Attention

I start with my story first. When I was in high school the subject that I hated was geography. I then found no value in which countries share borders with other countries. My geography teacher was fond of Arabic spelling and grammar of which I excelled in both. I depended on my memory to pass exams.

One day I entered an exam without preparing for it, I read the questions and had no idea how to answer the questions. My mind sprouted with the idea of confusing the attention of my teacher by deliberately making grammar and spelling mistakes. I answered the questions with whatever ideas came to my mind filled with these language mistakes.

The teacher got distracted from reading my answers correcting my language mistakes. I passed the exam. The teacher was shocked that I made unusual mistakes when he knew my grasp of the language. He did you must have been ill. I was not.

Instead of focusing his attention to correct my answers, the teacher focused on correcting my language mistakes. His focus shifted to where I intended to direct it.

Inattention from attention has many other examples. An actor who pays too much focus on say shouting on another factor might lose focus on standing at the right angle for the camera.

Christine Caldwell wrote a great post in which she wrote, “We’ve all experienced what happens when get tied up in our clients’ knotted lives. But how do we attune to our client’s experiences and not get knotted up ourselves?” If the listener attentively listens to a depressed person, the listener shall get depressed himself. Too much focus also distracts attention from the main issue.

So what is the solution? Christine Caldwell recommended, “Oscillation of attention is the primary way we keep our bodies safe and whole or get them back when we’ve given them away.”

Wavy Form of Extremes

We tend to put extremes on a single line. This is not how movement takes place as they have wavy forms. Linear thinking of opposites is shortsighted. They move in wave-like forms oscillating between ups and downs.

This is true if you want to keep your observation around. Imagine that you are extremely focused for extended times on a book you are reading. There is a fire in the kitchen and you smell nothing. You have no idea of the surroundings and the incoming risk.

Is not it better to relax focusing and then increase it so that you may observe what goes around?

Your thoughts count …

Ali Anani
Ali Anani
My name is Ali Anani. I hold a Ph.D. from the University of East Anglia (UK, 1972) Since the early nineties I switched my interests to publish posts and presentations and e-books on different social media platforms.

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  1. Interesting read here, Dear Ali! Creating momentary diversions away from something challenging may work in general terms indeed, but when it comes to crucial negotiations, board meetings, crucial management decisions, or discussing M&A targets, the same could prove disastrous, if not necessarily fetal. On the contrary, anecdotal references to related topics during such meetings could help you drive home the bargain, way beyond anybody’s imagination.

    I use the cutting edge hidden within the particular story at a given time. It helps me create a light banter and take stress out of the equation, especially when huge investments are at stake. Just the technique of using the right anecdote at an appropriate time holds the power to give you a dominating role. As long as you are skilled enough to pull the limelight away from your opponent, half the battle is already won. Herein lies your recipe for success, Dear Sir!

    Thanks, with Warm Regards, and a Prayer for All

    • Thank you dear Bharat,
      I appreciate greatly your comment. Timing of an anecdote is crucial in your example. In act, timing is always crucial.
      Content is equally crucial.

      You bring this issue into focus and mention areas such as negotiations in which both timing and content are important.
      I invite you to share your thoughts in a post because I feel this comment casts light briefly on needed topics of today.

      Again, I thank you my friend for your important contribution and my prayers are for your health and happiness.

  2. Ooo…You are a crafty one Ali. I wish I had this kind of ‘forethought’ in high school! But alas, not so much I’m afraid. In fact, I was a terrible student. I did not pay much attention to the subjects that did not interest me…Which, unfortunately, were most of them! Ha ha!

    However, I did pay attention to the ‘teachers’ I admired…Even if I was uninterested in the subject matter. I had only one such teacher during my senior year of high school. She was my history teacher back in middle school and I had not done well in her class…Guess I’m not much of a history fan. But I really liked her. So, when she told me she was disappointed with the grade she had to give me in her class, it struck a chord in me.

    As it so happens, she moved up to the high school during my senior year and was my English Lit teacher…Well, you bet your booties I aced everything that came my way in that class!
    After grading every test, she’d hand mine back to me and say, “Where were you in eighth grade!”

    • Cyndi, I want to ask you “where were you in eugth grade”?

      Thank you for sharing your very interesting story. Your comment adds to my belief that in desirability we may be able to pass obstacles and find a way out. Desriability brings creativity.

  3. Thank you for another excellent thought starter for my attention, Brother Ali
    On the subject of one’s own attention: I am reminded of what Phil, who taught me to mountain bike, said: “Alan pay attention to where your eyes are; where you look, the bike will go.” That seems true in life as well, where you focus your thoughts, your vision, your attention, you will go..
    On purposeful distraction: As a grandfather, I have learned how to distract a child mid-temper-tantrum, with a look at this shiny oibject. It is a skill that I confess that I did not use well as a parent.
    Leaders do this at their peril. Being too good at or using too much purposerful distraction is the behavior of narcissistic autocrats and other disingenuous leaders.

    • Oh brother Alan Culler thank you for the smile reading this “thought starter for my attention.”. Beware of my intention.

      Your mountain bike story and quote of Phil are brillianr. Yes, we go where we focus our attention. This is a lesson for life.

      So is the skill in distracting the child’s attention. It seems we have so much to learn from simple, but effective ideas.

      Too much focus distracts ourattention to what is going around us and the tunnel vision becomes our limitation. I completely endorse your thought.

      Again, thanks brother for your wonderful comment.