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We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Attention Training: Learning Single-Minded Focus

January 4, 2014, 7:00 AM
Shutterstock_155590157

I think that technology is wonderful and that we just need to be aware of how much of a pull it exerts on us and how difficult that can be to avoid.  We need to learn to train our attention because, as with anything, attention is like a muscle.  It's an analogy that you hear over and over in psychology - self-control is like a muscle.

If you train it, it gets stronger, it gets better. You are able to lift more weight. We have more endurance.  And similarly with attention, the more you train yourself to uni-task and to only pay attention to one thing at a time, the longer and longer and longer you’re able to maintain your focus. 

So what’s happening when people say that they can’t pay attention is that they haven’t trained their attention.  They’ve forgotten what it is to have a single-minded focus.  And because they haven’t trained it their attention actually has gotten worse.  

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

 

 

Attention Training: Learnin...

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