How long can you pay attention?
As people express their sadness, dismay and outrage about the events in Orlando this week, many wonder if this is a tipping point or another in the series of devastating episodes of violence in our country.
Collectively, we have a tough time holding on to our resolution to take action. Or we take action but when it is met with resistance, we move on to something where we can experience success.
Attention spans are important in a person’s cognitive development. They determine our mental capacity to concentrate on a given task. But our minds are susceptible to constant interruptions from external stimuli. This means that mind wandering is an everyday encounter.
What influences mind wandering? Our capacity for a working memory and short term retrieval, personality, attentional control measure, ADHD, and age-related differences. Add to that the pull of technology, multitasking, and interests that compete for our time and it makes perfect sense that we lose focus
According to Time Magazine, many of us now have an the attention span of about 12 second – that of the average Gold fish. and it’s getting shorter, even as you read this and most of you won’t remember reading this.
We are the only ones who can do something.
The exact same thing leadership should do after a training program: repetition, repetition. Follow Up Clinics and Performance Management work better at helping people retain information for a reason: what gets noticed gets done.
So get people’s attention.Lower attention spans require more follow up and more reiteration if we want to see an increase in retention.
Unless you personally have lost someone to gun-violence, you may not feel the daily absence of anyone you care about. If this is an issue that you think is an important one –
- Bring the topic up for discussion every week
- Post a jarring statistic every day
- Write your representative in local, state, and national government every 6 days
- Sign a petition every time one is passed you way
- Vote out the people who don’t further your agenda (and tell them why)
— and do these things until you see change.
If this doesn’t change anything, do something different:
- Step up the frequency
- Remind people of what’s important
- Light a candle.
If nothing changes, then nothing will change and that change starts with you.
Have I got your attention?