Kristjan Vingel

The ability to have sustained focus is a major skill of the future

October 28, 2019

The attention span of a regular millennial is apparently 12 seconds. Now, it doesn’t really matter whether these numbers are correct or whether it’s + or minus here and there. The truth is, the majority of people can’t focus even if their life would depend on it.

The marketers and businesses - the creators know this. And they use it to their advantage. While the millennials are consuming Instagram stories, the creators are pocketing all the money. They are the ones winning from all this.

The marketers are coming up with these bite-size consumption concepts like Snapchat etc. But do you think they themselves are watching these dumb stories all day long? No. Why would they? Preferably, if you are a crack dealer, you wouldn’t want to smoke crack yourself.

Here’s a thing you may not know. Every time you scan through webpages, scroll through feeds and flick through stories and check your phone if there’s an impulse, you are literally training and wiring your brain to do that. You train your brain to have a short attention span. Nicholas Carr talks about it in his absolutely phenomenal book, “The Shallows” as well.

The ability to focus is a crucial skill to have if you want to create something. It’s impossible to create or learn a complex skill with an attention span of a few seconds. It simply doesn’t work like this. Try to learn a programming language if you can only focus 12 seconds at a time. Good luck!

However, future jobs are the ones that absolutely require this skill. The menial jobs will all be replaced by computers. How long until Uber drivers are replaced by self-driving cars? How long when Uber itself will be replaced by e.g., a decentralized blockchain technology? Indeed, things are moving crazy fast.

Either way, the jobs of the future are the ones that require deep thinking. And I’m not even talking about people who are geniuses or talented or super smart. No, I’m just talking about the ability to have sustained focus. This will already set you apart from the rest.

Don’t be a puppet…


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Kristjan Vingel