I listen to a fair amount of TED talks and other similar speaking type gigs. The last one that really hit home was David Foster Wallace’s amazing “This Is Water” commencement speech, and now this talk by Brene Brown struck another chord with me.
It goes in to how you should be careful of your critics, because not all opinions are valid. The talk was given at a conference for designers, but I think that in today’s knowledge world, it’s relevant to everyone.
I found this interesting post on the topic of personal happiness. It turns out the happiest people are those people who are busy but not rushed.
A study published last year entitled “Social Indications Research” has this to say in the subject of being bored:
Who among us are the most happy? Newly published research suggests it is those fortunate folks who have little or no excess time, and yet seldom feel rushed.
So, feeling less rushed does not automatically increase happiness; if it did, those numbers would be moving in tandem, rather than in opposite directions. Rather, Robinson writes, surveys “continue to show the least happy group to be those who quite often have excess time.”
It turns out there are different ways to pay attention. Like me, you probably knew this all along, based on your own anecdotal evidence.
Last week,a paper released by a researcher at Duke University posited two different kinds of attention (amongst other things)- Deep Attention and Hyper Attention.
Deep Attention and Hyper Attention
Deep attention … is characterized by concentrating on a single object for long periods (say, a novel by Dickens), ignoring outside stimuli while so engaged, preferring a single information stream, and having a high tolerance for long focus times. Hyper attention is characterized by switching focus rapidly among different tasks, preferring multiple information streams, seeking a high level of stimulation, and having a low tolerance for boredom.
Deep attention is superb for solving complex problems represented in a single medium, but it comes at the price of environmental alertness and flexibility of response. Hyper attention excels at negotiating rapidly changing environments in which multiple foci compete for attention; its disadvantage is impatience with focusing for long periods on a noninteractive object such as a Victorian novel or complicated math problem.
In an evolutionary context, hyper attention no doubt developed first; deep attention is a relative luxury, requiring group cooperation to create a secure environment in which one does not have to be constantly alert to danger. Developed societies, of course, have long been able to create the kind of environments conducive to deep attention.
Educational institutions have specialized in these environments, combining such resources as quiet with an assigned task that demands deep attention to complete successfully. So standard has deep attention become in educational settings that it is the de facto norm, with hyper attention regarded as defective behavior that scarcely qualifies as a cognitive mode at all.
I love coffee. In fact, I would go so far as to say it makes me a better person. I’m nicer, funnier, smarter and faster. And as I type this, I realize that I sound like a coke head. No matter (sip) I still love the dark and lovely beverage that gets me going everyday, which is why I found this infographic on the health effects of caffeine so (sip) interesting.
A small party of me has always wondered how many cups of coffee it would take to kill me. That part of me was usually shaking and sleep deprived. Sip.
As a lover of tech and a bit of a Geek, I could reasonably argue that over the last 10 years there have been three companies that have pretty much owned my attention and sucked up a lot of my money. It’s been pretty much Apple vs Google vs Microsoft, but not always in that order.
With the recent Facebook IPO and Google stock splitting, I got to wondering how much money these companies actually make. Once I saw the eye watering sums of money they pull in, it further tickled my curiousity to see how much moolah they have pulled in over the last ten years. Right now, I almost wish I hadn’t looked.
Below you can see the following data graphed for the last ten years:
Apple vs Google vs Microsoft
Prepare your mind for boggling, as these are gargantuan sums of money. The AAPL net revenue number made jaw go slack.