When we read Matthew Syed’s article titled ‘Too focused to think clearly’ in The Times 30.05.18, it struck a chord.
Here’s the gist of what he wrote.
Last Month in the Champions League Final, the Liverpool goalkeeper, Karius was so focused on ‘distributing the ball’ his lack of situational awareness meant he threw the ball into the feet of the opposition and a goal was scored.
There’s a book called ‘Processing under Pressure’ by the psychologist Matthew J Sharps which describes how we can become so focused on the end that we forget to take in what’s happening and end up with tunnel vision.
He writes about a training exercise for combat policemen when the officers were so focused on the ‘gunman at the end of the long corridor’ that they ran without seeing that there were ‘numerous improvised explosive devices in their path’. If this had been a real situation they’d have died. They were so focused on the gunman that they had stopped having any ‘situational awareness’.
So instead of zooming in under the pressure – learn to zoom out by keeping an awareness of what’s going on around you – whether you’re delivering a high pressured presentation or trying to come up with the ‘big idea’.