When a magnifying glass focuses light into a single beam, the point of focus for that light can become hot. The energy is focused onto a single point and extremes of heat can be generated. Your mind can also be directed onto a single task and it is most capable of maximum achievement when you concentrate entirely on that task.
Modern society, however, values the act of concentration very little. Advertisements bombard us with information in 30 second blocks. Our news casts are reduced to just a few moments of information, before moving quickly on and even our politicians reduce their ideas into short and pithy sound bites.
The pace at which information is presented to us means that by the time we have grasped one idea, the next is upon us, like train carriages passing through a station at high speed. This often pays into the hands of those presenting information to us. By not allowing us to think about an idea or concept, we naturally accept it as truth and move on. Our values and beliefs are the result of experience and evidence that we see repeatedly and so, politicians and the media, in repeating their message and not allowing people to analyse and assess that information, ingrain in us their beliefs and values unimpeded. This reduction in our skill and ability to question what we see has been a slow and relentless process. The result is that as a society and a species we have significantly reduced our overall mental horsepower. We need to regain that skill.
By simply slowing down the rate at which information is presented to you and be spending time to assess that information you can more readily identify the value of that information. It is important to have an independent view on the information and events in the world around us. Accurately assessing this information will allow us to
- Identify when information is being misrepresented
- Make more considered decisions
- Take advantage of the opportunities available, that others do not see
If we are more aware of the true impact and value of information than the majority of people, then we have a significant advantage.
What allows us to gain these insights is the ability to focus on a particular issue and concentrate on its value, meaning and impact.
- Value – the truth value of information. For example, consider the phrases ‘Global Warming’ and ‘Climate change’. Both are phrases that reflect the impact that modern society is having on the environment. ‘Climate change’ is a neutral phrase that gives the impression that the climate is only changing. ‘Global warming’ however has darker overtones that reflect the increased likelihood of drought and famine. Which phrase more readily reflects the truth!
- Meaning – the significance of the information. Knowing the value of information will allow you to understand its relevance in the bigger picture. If an organisation wants to distract attention from an uncomfortable issue, then they may re-frame that issue into a positive light or present it as the lesser of 2 evils.
- Impact – the true effect that this has on the people and world around us. For example, taxing the very rich may seem like a good way for Governments to gain income for the treasury but only if the very rich stay in the country. If those rich people leave the country then the overall income for the country drops and the true impact of the policy is to reduce treasury wealth rather than increase it.
Don’t take the information that you are presented with for granted. Ask questions that will allow you to gain a true understanding of any information you are given. Only by questioning this information will be able to make a true assessment of the value and impact of that information and allow us to benefit from that advantage.
Dare to Aspire