Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Idle Mind is the Devil's Workshop

Overall, I really enjoyed Winifred Gallagher's "Choosing the Focused Life" except for the one sentence when he states that "multitasking is a myth" which I 100% disagree with but that's for another post.  Other than that, I was intrigued by his explanation of attention, the history of it and ways it applies to our lives. This is a topic that I have have dealt with and is huge in the sports world but reading this article made me think of my place of work at the alumni association. At our last all-staff retreat, we read and have now adopted The FISH! Philosophy inspired by the Pike's Place Fishing Market and focuses on four simple practices to enhance energy and commitment to anything you do:  Play, Make Their Day,  Choose Your Attitude and Be There. The last two specifically align with Gallagher stating that a person has complete control of their attitude by choosing to focus his/her attention on something positive and by fully give your undivided attention to a project or passion can create big results, strong relationships and great efficiency.

The fact that we have the ability to choose and focus on one thing over another is what makes us human. Relating this to class, I think the world of advertising challenges us to really view what's important to us and what we want to focus on when receiving a million messages a day. When looking through a magazine, various people will focus on different things - some will focus on the actual articles, some will look at the photos and some might be interested in only the advertisements. This article also reminded me of Jean Kilbourne's video where females of different age, race, backgrounds and levels of self-esteem may look at advertisements and give attention (some times too much attention) to the message and believe they "need" or "must have" that product, service or outcome.  But how do you teach a child to focus their attention on the positive images and messages? What makes one girl see an advertisement and what to be skinny but another girl doesn't blink twice and turns the page? 

I think Gallagher's thoughts that "The idle mind is the devil's workshop," is the mood where advertisers hope they find their audience when consuming their message; one's attention that is not focused on an end goal but lost in the clouds with the ability to be brainwashed, converted or controlled by a stranger's message. 

On a different note to showcase how everyone's focus and attention is different (and just for fun), there's always these famous perceptual illusions:

A young girl or old woman? 

How many legs does the elephant have? 
 Count the black dots:

1 comment:

  1. I also disagreed with the statement that multi-tasking is a myth!