Understanding anything requires time, analysis, and attention to detail. We need to pause life to gain a better understanding of things around us. The camera serves as a useful study tool, it allows time to stand still so we can see what is truly going on.
Let’s say, for example, we were one of many people who saw a multi-car accident and each of us questioned as a witness about what happened. Each of us may give similar stories with varying details. Some of us will be vague in our recollection. Some of us will be very confident and detailed about what happened. But can we trust our perception? Can we trust our memory? Well, they say eye-witness accounts are lousy.
I saw it with my own two eyes.
According to a report by the Innocence Project, since the 1990s, when DNA testing was first introduced, Innocence Project researchers reported 73 percent of the 239 convictions overturned through DNA testing were based on eyewitness testimony. Elizabeth F. Loftus of the University of California, Irvine, memory researcher and psychologists describes memory recollection as “more akin to putting puzzle pieces together than retrieving a video recording.”
It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.
— Henry David Thoreau
A photo or video contains details better than our mind can recall. A photo is a record of time. We can study photos for details or clues. I rely heavily on taking photos at work. I learned not to trust my memory to recall every detail. I often find myself gaining a new understanding each time I study the same photo over a course of time. I can study a photo today and one year from now, see something completely different. A picture is worth a thousand words.
Imagine walking through the mall. On the left and right of the storefront displays we see all sorts of things that grab our attention, but we have a specific destination in mind and cannot become distracted by impulse.
It would take 86 hours to get through the mall if you only spent 10 minutes in each store.
The difference in how we think is being able NOT to take action on impulses. Remember, they are distractions keeping us from reaching our destination. Don’t be late! Notice them, maybe even appreciate their existence, but stay focused on the path ahead. Be aware how much the little things consume our time.
There was a time when I stopped working. It was the first time in my life since I was a little boy. I’ve always worked, it’s what the family did. I’ll never forget the feeling. It was similar to jumping off a fast moving train and landing on your feet only to catch your balance. That rush of the train passing by as you catch your breath. That moment would set a wave of things in motion that would later have a real impact on my life and prove difficult to recover.
We all get burnt-out from time to time, but we need to keep moving. In hindsight, jumping on a slower moving train would have been better rather than getting off entirely. Never allow yourself to become too comfortable. Always keep moving.
One of the things I find most interesting about what I do is discovering the insignificance in what others do or teach. It’s not an intentional endeavor, rather the result of a natural process. Elon Musk also touched on this area in an interview with Khan Academy.
You can sit through countless seminars, read books, studies and academic papers all you want, but if what you’re consuming doesn’t matter, you’re wasting your time. We need to be able to trace back to the root of things to get a clearer picture and better understanding of what is important, what is not, and where our focus should be.
People act on their priorities. Observe closely.
— Paul Carrick Brunson
We tend to go through a process in our mind called confirmation bias where we search for things that support what we believe rather than searching for things to disprove what we believe. If all we ever do is search for things to support our beliefs, we ignore all of the things to validate their significance. We ignore the inconvenient truth. It is a type of cognitive bias and a systematic error of inductive reasoning.
By definition, its wrong.
We need to be able to look at our presuppositions then probe our presuppositions for coherence. Once we impose a systematic treatment of our beliefs with a specific eye, we take-away a different parsing of how we look at things. There is nothing so useless as wasting time on meaningless things.
I was reading an article on Psychology Today about insightful thinking and came across this…
I focus on what the author did not say.
Focusing on what wasn’t said helps us stimulate the mind to seek other possibilities. In my case, I am looking for more and more causes and sources behind the details of something that apply to what I’m working on. One example was this past election. During the debates, I focused on what wasn’t being said (reading between the lines) so-to-speak rather than focusing on meaningless things.
Walk. Its called directed attention, when we force ourselves to focus on a task. Learn Why Silicon Valley’s top execs are obsessed with taking walks.