Law of Attention: la causa prima

Alright, in this post I will elaborate a technical piece in the Law of Attention. It is about the first Law. It is one of the many model we can use to examine the various problem statements we encounter in our lives. If you’re not a technical person and you think you don’t need to read this, don’t waste your time. If you think you might learn something, just a bit, or more, please do continue. Though I won’t apologize if it’s technical in the first place. You can always read it more than once though, or nudge me right on in Facebook or Twitter.

Ready..? Here we go.

The first Law of Attention states:

“Person is only differed from the rate they observe.”

Difference is what we all seek. That unfair advantage we could have in the society, so we can fit in and contribute to further progress the society. Not because we need money. The more unfair advantage we have the more experience we can tackle as a sovereign individual, the more we can contribute to the society. In time we will experience more, that experience makes us more aware and attentive to the correct information and most of the time, keeping tabs.

Keeping tabs means to interrupt an annoyance because you have more important things to tend to. Watch out though, too much and you’ll be arrogant person, worse, a sociopath, or a creep. Keeping tabs does not mean you are multi-tasking. You are leveraging and utilizing your subconscious mind to actually face the things. You don’t run. This means you have the undivided attention into the particular matter. It is also the art of procrastination. That’s how multi-role, multitasking, multi-worth people works. They have the undivided attention (of mind) and focus (of execution). Undivided focus in execution will only be reached after you have a proper safety and operating procedure. Example: Your bathroom habit, you are capable washing your body in the bathroom while your mind is thinking about something else. We all know that condition. It’s that simple..and it works. It works because your muscle memory remembers the safety points and the operation sequence as exactly. Next is just to apply that same thing to whatever is important. To know what is important, we need observation.

Observation usually scopes into the big picture so we don’t lose the destination we are going to. Big picture is essential, but progress starts only from two sources. One source is when you innovate things, and the second is when you encountered a problem. Encountering problem is not only good, it is better. That means we are doing a good job. Yes, because we finally identified the problem. This condition itself is a prove that you had the chance to relax and sit back to enjoy the show in the first place. This is the luxury of access.

This might sounds weird, but it is better if the problem came to you. Yes you read that right, it is better if the problem came to you. That means you are where people go to when there is problem. What matters next is the quality of the problem. The real capitulation of the Clockwork of Excellence (Passive Action – “Need to know basis”), if practiced right, will always prompt you to deal with a quality problem, not a petty problem. This means you play a game, not an activity. This in practical means even if you can solve the problem, it doesn’t mean you need to do it all the time, and most importantly don’t be somebody’s Fool. [More about automating this boring task in Clockwork of Excellence]

When a problem-comes-to-you happens more than once, you know soon you will be swarmed by all kinds of selected information. “Selected” because it is filtered already by the party who notify you this. They think you are able to fix their problem, they know you can. They have hopes in you, don’t disrespect that. Normally people “earn” this by becoming a higher strata in a management situation. For example, a supervisor is supposed to deal within their jurisdiction, but when he thinks he can’t handle it, he will escalate the problem into higher responsible person, in this example, a manager.

Now this is where the fun goes. If problem comes to you, you have to judge if it is worth your attention or not, because..

Not Every Problem is Created Equally

This point is very simple. It’s like your girl will come and forever ask you “What’s for dinner..?” or your boss comes over and ask “We need higher output, how do you think we can do this..?”

Now if you notice both of the questions are open questions. The difference is the question by your girlfriend is a question to see what you are thinking (because she has her own preference!) while the question asked by your boss is actually asking for solution (damn, I don’t know what else we need to do!).

IF, we are to use these questions as the sample problem, then we can say that the quality of the questions differ from the trigger in the first place. Both questions can be an opportunity while at the same time a trap. My point is, we need to be able to distinguish in which situations such a question become an annoyance and dare to interrupt it. Polite or not you decide; to be honest once you reached the practice of Law of Attention, it doesn’t matter if you’re polite or not, you will get the access you want. However I would recommend to be polite because it’s simply makes you feel a better person. I guess..? LoL, you decide.

Knowing this then it’s just as easy as an analogy, test-measure for each condition to attune to situations.

Aside from the trigger differences, I also want to remind you that there are also forced questions. These are the questions you don’t want to answer most of the time. It is not only annoying but it also impose the bad culture of hierarchy in the social institutions.  I am not supporting that culture and neither should you.

Thus, Not Every Problem is Worthy of Your Attention

In fact we wasted so much time in misinterpretation of a problem. Human communication is very inefficient, it’s a waste of energy, especially if it is between people with different mother tongue, and an extra hard if we’re dealing with a person who are nice guy/girl without direct communication style. Such is why it is very important to be able to trace back the problem and decide if it’s the right problem for you and it is not an annoyance. Mind you this doesn’t happen one way, it should also happen the other way. Then we are talking the same level of attention. This is also why you don’t need to talk to those who are not a decision maker. I know it is hard to practice at first as we evolved to be a social person in a community. Especially because of this, I want to quote back what I wrote in the Clockwork of Excellence:

Wisdom comes from the ability to experience, the sense of purpose, the empathy carried in each decision & judgement we made. Each decision we made are not a transaction that is taxed upon the system but more than that, to negotiate challenges and remain true to ourselves. When all is done, are we regretting it, or can we say that we are fulfilled as in there an extreme joyfulness in our hearts, and the happiness in our surroundings..?

The Technical

To practice this, we need a model to judge. From all sorts of problems and the various trouble maker, there are those which are relevant and critical. One tool we have discussed in The Society – First Things First which is also a part of the 7 Habit is the Eisenhower Decision Matrix. It works well qualitatively but it doesn’t regard a third dimension such as the quantity/frequency bias. Frequency bias means that we as a human tend to see that more things equals more importance.

In practice it is not necessarily that way. In 1896, Economist Vilfredo Pareto shown a weird occurrence at that time that 80% of the land is owned by the 20% of the population. Next, a management consultant Joseph M Juran adopted that study principle into management and since then the Pareto Principle was practiced heavily in Quality Management System for manufacturing world-wide.

80% of the problem comes from 20% of the cause (Pareto Principle)

Everyone who knows this from schooling or even professional career must have understood the basics/already practice the Pareto; It’s not that hard. Basically it’s just a frequency of the occurring problem to the quality of the problem (how critical and how relevant). Judge that, and you are golden. The problem then comes usually in the observation, usually the metrics we need.

  • What kind of metrics we need..? In manufacturing, it’s always the mode of defects to the overall produced. In business, it’s always the deviation of expense towards the investment. In marketing, it’s the opportunities that’s not converted to sales. So, what is the metrics we need in life..? Maybe you can start from Happiness..? What about love..?
  • How can you get your metrics…? In manufacturing, the active approach is on it’s how you talk with your supervisors or your quality control department. It’s also has passive approach such as how you design your SOP and how reliable your design is. Now, how can you get the metrics in life..?

This is your homework, this is the start of your autonomy. I am not going to share you a template or whatever, you can develop your own strategy. This is what makes you a person. Feel the magic happening.

After, it’s just the way The Agreement goes. Deal or no Deal. But know this, I only get things when it is on SALE. I think you should too.

Cheers and happy praxis !!