• Dave Sorbara

Your Attention. Harnessing Science, Technology and Sound to Win Back Your Greatest Asset.

Updated: Sep 30, 2021


As it turns out, the most valuable resource we have as individuals is our attention.


One of the most valuable resources we have as individuals is our attention. And when we can hold our attention on one thing, it creates focus. Once we are focused on a task, we enter into a state of flow—that flow state where we are exponentially more productive and creative, and where we lose track of time. Deep focus is integral to attaining a flow state.


Where Your Focus Goes, Energy Flows


Often, a flow experience begins when the brain releases norepinephrine and dopamine into our system. These neurochemicals raise your heart rate, tighten focus, and help you sit up and pay attention. This in turn leads to becoming more efficient with your time and energy. It’s also a peak human state where we are more creative and content. Without the ability to focus for prolonged periods of time, we lose the opportunity to get into a flow state.


Today we live in an era of endless distractions as we are connected 24/7 to “always on” technology. Our attention is immensely valuable to every business out there and our modern economy is definitely not in the business of helping you protect your attention and focus. Every day we are constantly deciding whether to apply our attention to our own personal goals or give it up to the myriad of businesses (or clients) that desperately want and need it.


The ability for us to harness our attention, create deep focus, and spend good chunks of time in deep work and flow is harder and harder to do with big tech leveraging science and scale to steal it from you on a moment-by-moment basis. The ability to focus is a rare skill that has become increasingly valuable in our economy. Those who can harness their attention win because they realize their goals exponentially faster.


Where Your Focus Goes, Energy Flows


Often, a flow experience begins when the brain releases norepinephrine and dopamine into our system. These neurochemicals raise your heart rate, tighten focus, and help you sit up and pay attention. This in turn leads to becoming more efficient with your time and energy. It’s also a peak human state where we are more creative and content. Without the ability to focus for prolonged periods of time, we lose the opportunity to get into a flow state.


Our modern economy is definitely not in the business of helping you protect your attention and focus.

Today we live in an era of endless distractions as we are connected 24/7 to “always on” technology. Our attention is immensely valuable to every business out there and our modern economy is definitely not in the business of helping you protect your attention and focus. Every day we are constantly deciding whether to apply our attention to our own personal goals or give it up to the myriad of businesses (or clients) that desperately want and need it.


The ability for us to harness our attention, create deep focus, and spend good chunks of time in deep work and flow is harder and harder to do with big tech leveraging science and scale to steal it from you on a moment-by-moment basis. The ability to focus is a rare skill that has become increasingly valuable in our economy. Those who can harness their attention win because they realize their goals exponentially faster.


The ability to focus is a rare skill that has become increasingly valuable in our economy. Those who can harness their attention win because they realize their goals exponentially faster.

What Breaks Deep Focus?


Distraction kills our ability to focus, making flow unattainable. The constant beeps and pings of notifications are the most obvious distractions. But there are subconscious distractions that you are not even aware of—like seeing an unread email out of the corner of your eye, or the Instagram icon on your phone urging you to take a peek and get a little hit of dopamine in your brain.


Even if you think you are focusing, you are likely losing attentional resources through environmental distraction, such as the sight of your phone, or that unopened email.

A neuroscience professor at UCSF, Dr. Adam Gazzaley, has done a lot of the foundational research on distraction. He has highlighted two kinds of focus: attending and ignoring. We are most familiar with attending, which represents the conscious effort we exert when we are trying to focus. But the ignoring distraction type is the scary one! It’s where your brain expends immense resources ignoring things in your environment. Even if you think you are focusing, you are likely losing attentional resources through environmental distraction, such as the sight of your phone, or that unopened email.


Stanford neuroscientist Dr. Andrew Huberman tells us that focus is the ability to resist the urge to indulge in spontaneous behavior, such as checking a text message, scrolling through Instagram and TikTok, or window shopping on Amazon. Spontaneous actions don’t contribute to our predetermined goals. They are our brains and bodies novelty seeking with a quick hit of dopamine.


It turns out that we are hardwired to seek novelty and it’s been a trait we’ve had for thousands of years. It was more valuable to seek novelty in our environments when food and safety were scarce. While no longer necessary, this part of our biology is very difficult for us to overcome.


What happens when we let distractions take over? We end up in a constant state of multitasking and an endless game of whack-a-mole as we flip from one task to another. Switching between tasks is shown to deplete energy in your brain and body about 10 times faster than if you were focused on one thing at a time. At the end of a day of constantly bouncing around, you end up exhausted and drained.


Those who can harness their attention and focus can power through a full day of concentrated effort and productivity without any sense of fatigue or drainage. The point here is that we must shape our environments to keep as much of our attention resources as we can. Sheer willpower alone is never enough to gain your attention and focus back. We must treat our attention as a fragile prized possession and every time someone or something steals it away from us we need to be aware of ways that we can keep it from happening again.


It’s time to train up your ability to focus and win your attention back.




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