Understanding rhythms of attention

At any given moment, our brain focuses on a single point of interest. Like a filmstrip, the brain takes pictures of these moments, then assembles them into a cohesive story.

About four times every second, the brain stops taking snapshots of individual points of focus and collects background information about the environment, like sound, people, temperature, and so on. It then uses all the information to put together a narrative of the complete experience.

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Our attention systems

According to scientists at Princeton University, the brain oscillates in and out of focus four times every second.

That means the brain stops focusing on the task at hand about 240 times a minute.

The brain is distractible. We focus in bursts with periods of distractibility in between those bursts, where the brain seems to look at the rest of the environment outside to see if there's something important going on elsewhere.

This rhythm affects our behavior all the time.

Modern life insists that we perform all sorts of hyper-focused tasks that overburdens our distractible brains.

Consider driving and drinking coffee while you're on the phone. It means that you're continually switching attention that could cause an accident.

Every four times a second, our brains are open to stimuli outside our initial focus.

If there's something very bright or blinking at that time, you will shift your attention. Advertisers take advantage of this. For example, when you're on the internet and ads are popping up.

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Music can be a simple form of meditation. It can direct your attention to a state of your choice if it is calm or exciting.

Schedule music sessions throughout the day to recharge and reset.

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The author calls an even a "Black Swan" if it's unpredictable not because it's random, but because our outlook on what's possible was too narrow. Imagine you’d known about the 9/11 attacks in advance. You wouldn’t have been surprised. In some cases, a Black Swan is only a tragedy for a single person. However, often it affects entire societies. Just think of Copernicus’s discovery that the sun is the center of the universe, not the earth, or when Armstrong set foot on the moon.

https://books.google.com/books/content?id=gWW4SkJjM08C&printsec=frontcover&img=1&zoom=1&edge=curl&source=gbs_api

The Black Swan

by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

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Goal setting

Is the act of selecting a target or objective you wish to achieve.

Goal setting is not only about choosing the rewards you want to enjoy, but also the costs you are willing to pay to achieve your goals.

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