On my drive home this morning, I was thinking about my greatest daily challenge. This is an activity that consumes significant amount of processing power of my brain yet happens almost completely subconsciously without impacting anything else. It is like the markets – never completely understood, conquered, or tamed, yet having significant impact on our lives. All day long, when I read something, hear something, speak with someone, discuss a topic, answer a question or hear a response, I’m trying to determine the credibility, value, impact of what I’m consuming. I am hard at work trying to determine what is noise and what is information. Let’s say a concept is being explained very clearly and logically, does that mean it makes sense? What if someone writes with excellent vocabulary and perfect sentence design, does that make the writer credible? You are reading what I have written. Is this noise (discard immediately) or a thought worth considering for a bit. Am I smart? Can you trust the letters, words, sentences and paragraphs that I have crafted here? Reporters write millions of articles daily but how do you determine which is worth the minutes spent on reading?
There are many examples of what I’m describing. Even in a hierarchical relationship while we may comply with a request, we subconsciously either agree or disagree with it and in bad situations simply don’t care. A coworker raised a question about a requirement saying that we should poll others to see if we have captured the requirement correctly. That’s another example. Why am I paying any attention to this daily challenge? Could it be that those who are extremely smart or capable are able to separate noise from valueable information better than the rest of us? I wish I could devote a month or two to the analysis of this subject. The reason is that perhaps there should be a class in school teaching valuable lessons on separating garbage from jewels that are thrown at us from every angle every day.
Sometimes what we consider garbage in hindsight becomes obvious to have been a jewel. Is there any way to prevent the initial mistake or is this just human nature? There are also times when taking a message for granted is required for survival (hearing fire in a crowded theater – run then think). Because this processing is subconscious in my case, I cannot write my methods of separating communications but maybe if I pay attention going forward, I can report back my findings. Until then this activity will continue to remain one of my top daily challenges.