June 28, 2020 No Comments

Attention Degrades Exponentially

The effectiveness of divided attention degrades exponentially. Undivided attention is key to the easier fulfillment of dreams.


We have a finite amount of attention to pay. Attention is an energy that flows towards the items of interest. The attention energy can be enhanced but that is another topic by itself. This short piece addresses the effective usage of energy that we already have. The effect is the intensity of the attention that reaches the point of interest. Effectiveness is the ability to lighten up the point of interest (fulfillment). What does it mean?

Attention energy at an instant gets divided on things of interest. Undivided attention on a thing is far more effective than attention divided on two or more things. It is not a simple divide by a rather exponential degradation. Why exponential?

Exponential degradation of attention energy

Attention energy moves similar to a light beam forming a conical shape. Refer to figure # 1 below. The volume of the cone equals the total attention energy. A combination of the radius (r) and distance (h) determines the limits and extent of intensity and thus the effectiveness. A simple light bulb that disburses the light in all the directions (big radius r) lights up to a short distance only. Whereas a laser light having a small spread can travel all the way to the moon.

Radius r is the radius of that circle which encompasses all the points of one’s interest. Fewer and congruent points are easier to light up while many or incongruent points are difficult as the radius required exceeds the energy available.

Figure # 1 – Volume of a Cone  Figure # 2 – Exponential degradation

The diagram above on the right shows the apparent brightness of a source with luminosity L0 at distances r, 2r, 3r, etc. Notice that as the distance increases, the light must spread out over a larger surface and the surface brightness decreases in accordance with a “one over r squared” relationship. The decrease goes as r squared because the area over which the light is spread is proportional to the distance squared.


Undivided Attention makes Fulfillment Easier

Whatever one puts attention on, grows in their life. Undivided Focussed attention on a thing, makes it grow and its fulfillment easier. But, divided attention on many things diffuses this power exponentially and results in significantly reduced chances of fulfilling any.

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