Attention Training: Learning Single-Minded Focus

We need to learn to train our attention because, as with anything, attention is like a muscle. 

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

Why a federal judge ordered White House to restore Jim Acosta's press badge

A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration likely violated the reporter's Fifth Amendment rights when it stripped his press credentials earlier this month.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 16: CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta (R) returns to the White House with CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist after Federal judge Timothy J. Kelly ordered the White House to reinstate his press pass November 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. CNN has filed a lawsuit against the White House after Acosta's press pass was revoked after a dispute involving a news conference last week. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Acosta will be allowed to return to the White House on Friday.
  • The judge described the ruling as narrow, and didn't rule one way or the other on violations of the First Amendment.
  • The case is still open, and the administration may choose to appeal the ruling.
Keep reading Show less

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less

Scientists just voted to change the definition of a kilogram

The definition of a kilogram will now be fixed to Planck's constant, a fundamental part of quantum physics.

Greg L via Wikipedia
Surprising Science
  • The new definition of a kilogram is based on a physical constant in quantum physics.
  • Unlike the current definition of a kilogram, this measurement will never change.
  • Scientists also voted to update the definitions of several other measurements in physics.
Keep reading Show less