Deep or wide attention?

All people could be split in two different categories:

  1. those who agree that people could be split in two categories and
  2. those who don’t

Just kidding, we are only checking to see if we have your attention. Here we go again:

All people could be split in two different categories:

  1. those with wide attention and
  2. those with deep attention

In fact, nobody’s attention is in either extreme, we all have an amount of both categories. However, one of them is dominant and this characterises how our attention behaves.

Wide attention

People in the first category are having difficulty to focus on one thing at a time. They enjoy doing things in parallel. They are often busy with many activities at once.

For example when they study. They might play with their hair, listen to music, paying attention to their tea or coffee, look out of the window and several thoughts about who they are going out with in the evening are dancing in the back of their head. If someone happens to enter the room that moment they will stop right away with whatever they are doing to start a relieving chat. It goes without saying that they will check immediately every message that comes on their mobile phone.

People in this category are the most prone to attention deficit disorder. They quickly loose their interest when they have to focus on a single activity. On the opposite, they like the action that comes through a plethora of stimuli.

Deep vs Wide Attention

Deep attention

The second category functions quite differently. These people are able to focus their attention deeply. They stay focused in whatever they are doing even when other people enter the room, there is noise or the phone rings. They are absolutely drawn in the book they read and ignore whatever else happens inside or outside the room.

The true art of memory is the art of attention – Samuel Johnson

Exercise:

Think whether your type of attention is mainly deep or wide. Make a list of the cases it helps you and those in which it makes your life difficult.

Usually, whichever we are gifted with, we wish to have a bit more of the other! In reality though they are both equally good and effective. We only have to accept what we have and develop an appropriate strategy to exploit it best.

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Also read our article “The 10 Saboteurs of our mind