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20140228 Focus

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Author of Emotional Intelligence decided to look at Focus as in paying attention and Distractions. He does it in 7 steps:

1. The Anatomy of Attention. The baseline here is that attention is a limited resource and should be used sparely. This follows by analysis of bottom up and top down mind closely following Kahneman’s ideas about thinking fast and slow. Quite a bit of attention assigned to a centipede’s problem: if one starts thinking how he does something, he could not do it efficiently anymore. Very interesting and something unusual is deviation to appreciate value of the mind adrift. It seems to suggest that daydreaming has significant value producing unexpected solutions. Overall as everything else the balance is required to achieve success.

2. Self-Awareness. This step about awareness of one’s body, mind, and attempts to learn how to see self through the eyes of others. An interesting discussion about self-deception and groupthink. The recipe for self-control provided: control over attention will allow control over mind.

3. Reading others. This one goes back to part of EQ that emphasized empathy.

4. Attention in context of systems. This is pretty much about looking at the world as a system, including as much as possible of small pieces of information to create an adequate picture. An interesting example is Mau sailor capable to find way in the ocean using small patterns of environment. Here is a wonderful idea, which as trivial as impossible to implement – focus on the big system and future consequences. I guess it is an inherent failure of liberal intellectual’s mind – a weird believe that it is possible to understand big system in primitive terms. It comes with lack of real world experience of getting things done. Such experience teaches humility and understanding that we are lucky to get correctly a small part of the big system and achieve a baby step positive results. Academic experience of dealing with other human beings either teachers or students teaches arrogance of believing that one can easily understand big system either healthcare in USA or climate of earth and improve this big system with some crude and primitive tool like ObamaCare or forced decrease in using fossils.

5. 10000 hours and games as training for the brain. Here is an attempt to deny veracity of achieving perfection after 10k hours of deliberate exercise. I think that idea is true, but the problem is with deliberate part. It is not always possible to implement while just repetitive exercise would not do much good.

6. Use of control over attention as tool for control over people (leadership). Same as above – liberal minds need leaders, self-reliant individuals don’t.

7. Big picture of the last chapter turns out to be a primitive environmentalist’s rap about stupid people not understanding that good life today inevitably leaves future generations without resources. It seems to be does not matter that year after year and, actually century after century human ingenuity overcomes predictions of doomsayers and provides more and more resources to consume. The most disgusting however is this search for great leaders who would force stupid people to cut down on their consumption.


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