There are plenty of problems in the world that the more they are focused on the harder they become. Edison met a number of these in his career and the more he focused on them the harder it was for him to solve the problem. His solution was always to take a nap, and then have something wake up once he was relaxed.

There is a big value in letting one’s focus go. However complex a problem seems, sometimes overloading focus doesn’t help. Surprisingly, focusing less does more to solve the problem.

When one focuses, there is a stressing of consciousness towards a system or problem in a similar way as when one bears a great weight. The muscles are burdened by what the must hold in the same fashion as the mind is strained by the intensity of its observations, and just like when someone bears a weight or uses a muscle for too long sometimes it can have an adverse reaction.

The muscle becomes thrown or has an aneurysm, the mind becomes inflexible and gets frustrated. Just like a light shining on very intensely may help indicate a direction, the focused state of the mind does have value. Yet when remaining so focused for so long the surroundings are sometimes lost, and the grand scheme is missed. Diffusing focus every once is just like taking the focused light, and expanding it to the whole of one’s surroundings.

This post was greatly inspired by the dichotomy brought up in the book A Mind For Numbers, which I would recommend checking out for anyone interested in sharpening their mental skills or interested in the most efficient way to learn.


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