This month will mark 3 years of Revue newsletters! Feels like quite a milestone and certainly gratifying to get these shipped (nearly) weekly. That requires focus. But so does every aspect of my job. And most peoples jobs really.
Do you want a single takeaway from the 21st century so far? Here it is: To the focused go the spoils.
Have I already lost your attention? No wonder. You’re being pulled in a bunch of directions at high speed.
The basic premise that NY times journalist, Matt Richtel makes in this 7min read
is that focus is essentially binary.
It’s there or it isn’t. And, importantly, it can’t be divided. To this, I’d add a nuance: Attention and focus are not exactly the same thing.
” is the holy grail and ridding yourself of external distraction may seem obvious but then you have to rid yourself of internal distraction too… To understand how to do that he has some insight & advice:
👀 Your eyeballs are for sale. To everyone who isn’t you, your focus is a commodity. It is being amassed, collected, repackaged and sold en masse. Collectively, audiences are worth more and more everyday. But individually, your focus doesn’t have any worth the eyeball aggregators. To you, though, it is everything.
🧠 A cluttered mind cannot focus.
Matt came across research showing
that a calmer mind, trained by breathing and other exercises, will allow soldiers to make better decisions in battle.
💤 Rest is Best! Fatigue has a powerful but indirect impact on focus. When you’re sleep-deprived, your body undergoes many changes adverse to focus. Even your focus can fatigue. Focal fatigue is the idea that, even when rested, there is only so much sustained attention that most of us can muster before it falters. Is it 10 minutes, or 30, or an hour?
💭 Daydreaming is ok! The reality is that after a period of intense focus, the mind wanders, and that is a good thing. For me, this is a tremendous advantage in cycling. I love to follow a route and let my mind wander.
“Downtime is to the brain what sleep is to the body.” When you’re fresh, focus. When you’re spent, refresh.
As we all struggle to focus, it is important to remember that technology can tear you apart or it can be your advantage and to consider that those who can pick and choose, focus and release, will inherit the world. Unfortunately, that has a lot to do with privilege & economics
As always, thank you for reading!
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