Attention and the Focused Life -Winifred Gallagher

I lose interest very easily and am easily distracted. I guess I am easily bored and then I feel restless at times. I am usually scatterbrained. It takes a lot of intense and powerful motivational stuff to hold my attention. It is not easy to grab my attention.

Is this your description? If yes then this book is for you. If you feel you are not able to focus on your task and do it full justice then you should read this book.

The Lessons I learnt from this book:

  • According to psychology’s “Negativity bias theory,” we pay more attention to unpleasant feelings such as fear, anger, and sadness because they’re simply more powerful than the agreeable sort. (This would have come as no surprise to Freud, who saw life as a struggle filled with conflict, guilt, grief, anger, and fear.)
  • When you feel frightened, angry, or sad, reality contracts until whatever is upsetting you takes up the whole world.
  • Learning – Anything that changes behavior changes the brain.
  • Joanne Wood shows that if you want to feel better about who you are, you should concentrate on someone of lower status, but if you’re trying to get motivated, you should fix on a person who outranks you.
  • “Nothing in life is as important as you think it is while you are thinking about it.” Why? “Because you’re thinking about it!”
  • When you’re facing a stressful situation, whether you have to give a speech or attend a banquet when you’re dieting, “you should plan how you’ll act in advance,” he says. “Use the format ‘if that happens, then I do this!’”
  • No matter who you are, you and everyone you love must endure pain, sickness, aging, and death.
  • The point, says Bryant, is that “you see what you look for. And you can train yourself to attend to the joy out there waiting to be had, instead of passively waiting for it to come to you.”

To summarize the book in one line I will quote a line used in one of the anecdote from the book.

 “It ain’t how much you’ve got, honey, it’s how you use it.”  

So if you are in serious mood to spend your weekday then enjoy this book in leisure.