Friday, May 8, 2009

Styles galore

Before I move on to the journey of improvement, I must delve a little more into the concept of attentional styles.

I have summarised the different focus styles that we all use to varying degrees a various times:

  • Broad external focus - taking in our surrounding, taking in a multitude of cues from our environment
  • Broad internal focus - time for strategies and planning, selecting relevant cues
  • Narrow internal focus - time for problem solving and processing complex information
  • Narrow external focus - time for execution, playing the card, looking at the cards

While everyone is capable of using and developing these different styles, we each will have a preferred or a more developed focus style - whether we were born that way or due to our education or occupation. The CEO of a company is more likely to be a "strategic " thinkers, a programmer is more likely to be a problem solver...

Along these difference in focus styles, are also differences in how likely we are to become distracted and by what:

  • "external distractability" = how easily we become distracted by task irrelevant external cues, using a broad external focus when it is inappropriate
  • "internal distractability" = how easily we become distracted at critical times by their own thoughts and feelings, failing to narrow our attention and/or shift to an external focus when we should
  • A third element is our "degree of flexibility" = how easily we can shift from one mode to the other

It is important to understand that under stress, or a times of mental fatigue, we tend to revert to our natural style - even though it may not the most appropriate.

Ohhh ...this is such dry topic, how about a quote from Dalai Lama to finish the day

We are all worms. But I believe that I am a glow-worm

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