Gustavo Ballvé on March 21st, 2011
Food for thought, Home, Mental models

Two notes on concentration/ attention span/ taking the time to think. Seth Godin wonders why people who get the chance to hear/ interact with great speakers choose instead to tweet 140-character blurbs to people who are not paying that much attention, are getting hundreds/ thousands of streams and probably don’t care as much as the person who chose to be there… Why not give that speaker the respect of your full attention? In his case, he’s pitching books as a valuable medium (he posted this in his publishing venture’s blog), but it’s still true.

“Wait a second”, loyal readers say, “aren’t you the guys who live-blogged the 2009 Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting?” Yes… but there were three of us at that meeting (we note that all travel expenses for that meeting were borne by the analysts themselves). The blogger – yours truly – was in his third trip to Omaha and relied on the other two to share their thoughts later.

From the Farnam Street blog comes an article about the advantages of reading/ thinking alone in some situations. While teamwork is vital, and we can’t stress enough how much we believe in it and foster it internally, it doesn’t exclude the need for the occasional time for reflexive/ deep thinking by oneself.

Finally, in our Feb. 2011 post called “Aha! moments vs. strategy”, we alluded to the “calm state of mind that precedes insight” part of that story by repeating Charlie Munger’s quote about his habits: “We both (Charlie Munger and Warren Buffett) insist on a lot of time being available almost every day to just sit and think. That is very uncommon in American business. We read and think.”

It won’t work for everyone, it won’t work every time, but one should try it.

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