CAPACITY LIMITS AND ATTENTION, CONCERN
USABLE CAPABILITY, LIMITED ATTENTION, REALISTIC LIMITS -
AVOID FILLING IT WITH IRRELEVANT, ILLEGITIMATE CONCERNS
In editing mode, but you can get the idea: we are filling up our capacity with trash and low value so that we have little left for making progress on what is important and relevant to us. (Formerly titled "The Box Of Concern".)
"As humans, we have limited capacity for what we can do. It is simpy in accordance with the laws of scarcity. If we have a scarce resource and we take some of it to use, there will be less left to use for other things. It is much like a cup. If it is already full, we must remove something from it if we want to put something else in it. If we put garbage in it, there is less room for putting other things in it. We must first put in what is of most value or we'll find ourselves having used up the capacity with no space left for what is of the most value.
Choose well and your life will be great and you'll have plenty of room for good stuff AND you'll have lots more brain power to apply where needed!
Choose poorly and you will have pushed your life potential over the cliff into oblivion."
A View Of Life Flow And Capacity
THE REALITY OF LIMITED CAPACITY
In our brains, we have true limitations of capacity - and there are no miracles to get around them, for there is no Superman in reality, but it is true that man is super...but only to a realistic limit. We call that "channel-capacity" true limitations on how much we can process all at once. Like a glass of water at capacity, for something else to come in there must be something to come out in order to have room, View the following as if it were a square limited pipeline that we are peering in one end of.
If we put in more of the irrelevant or low relevancy items, we leave less room for the relevant (that which has a actual consequences on our lives) and we essentially squeeze out the relevant. That is an awful strategy, but many "intelligent" people do it, unintelligently.
We are concerned about what happens to us in the future, not the present, since there is, right now, almost zero chance that you are in danger in the moment. And most of the concern has no legitimacy or is of such low actual consequence that it doesn't arrive at the level to be worth of attention (interestingly most of it is about being inconvenienced or "losing" some fun for some reason). Most of what we worry about, as stated already, is about something fictional, all made up in the mind. Actually, we ended up being in a magnificent world compared to 10,000 years ago and compared even to a few decades back - so we must be "spoiled", taking our lack of danger and our miracles of comfort for granted - talk about being out of touch with reality!!! (See What We Have, For Sure - and "get" that we are not in danger of loss but only of occasionally giving back part of a gain! To understand what the latter means, you have to read the linked piece.)
When we know that we can recover well and that our imagined futures are not going to suffer devastating damages, we begin to clean out (or at least cut off part of) the source of imaginary threats that suck up our capacity for attention. The fear generated also squeezes our brain power, further reducing our pipeline (it is well known that fear causes the "nonessential for emergency" resources to be turned off or taken from). As we get a more realistic picture of how we will not suffer exaggerated or catastrophic effects AND will be capable of handling them, then the concern and impact on our resources diminishes. "I know I can and will recover."
CONCERN AND "RELEVANCY"
The reason I called it the Box Of Concern, instead of "relevancy" is because I wanted to get across the idea that we should restrict our concern (and attention) to that which is of the greatest relevancy, as we do not have the time to waste on anything else and we can only do so much.
Relevancy is a value related concept. "Concern" is a psychologically related concept.
Worry, anxiety, fear are all forms of concern, concern about how well off we will be.
Concern then is a "paying attention to" dangers and threats. But it turns out that we fill our pipelines, our channel capacity with concern about things that are irrelevant to our real life - they are falsely based concerns, based on unreal, faux, nonexistent in the real world "dangers." In other words, while they have emotional consequences, it is only because we "make up" that they are threats, when they actually aren't. We "make up" that there is significance to "assuring that we get approval", as if we were still children dependent on someone who actually had control over our lives. We get stuck in nonsensical, life wasting beliefs about "something out here" that actually has no impact in our lives in that there is no consequence "out there". It is totally in the mind - where we set up a sort of "killing field" where we die a thousand deaths but none of them real.
(The false belief that "I am dependent on others' approval or my life is screwed if I don't get it" should be corrected as one of the very first things we do, as it is life-ruining to let one's life be governed by such a nonsensical false belief!! And that belief is supporting the idea of "I'm not good enough". But in truth we are basically without threats of any consequence in our lives and dependent on no one. We whittle away our lives into nothing by filling our concern box with matters of no concern.)
There is a gentle appropriate channel of concern, meaning to direct attention (and effort) to what is of importance. Concern need not be about the negative or the imaginary or even the nonvaluable....
Distinguishing relevancy in life is one of the chief adult skills we must learn if we are to have great lives, for living out a life full of irrelevances is a crime to the great gift we are given. (Be sure to read The "Law Of Relevancy" and Run Your Life On "High Relevancy", and also learn to distinguish what is What Is Most Important To Do In Your Life. Honoring these is what will determine your very life, for they are what to fill our lives with - and it is a sin to let the imaginary nonconsequential fill up our channels of concern.)
THE PROBLEMS AFFECTING USABLE CAPACITY
Channel-capacity is much more limited than we think it is or than we think it "should" be. But we experience it all the time, so we should have a sense that it is, at least, limited and certainly not very big.
If we fill our capacity with looking for lots of dangers and with concern about solving them, there is no room left for thinking and higher level functions. If we fill it 2/3 with such concerns, then there is little room for much else, including thinking, willpower, disciplined tradeoffs. If it is too full, one can lose all interest in the "nice optionals", such as with a sex drive or sometimes we can even get to be anhedonic (with no capacity for feeling pleasure).
So our job is to clear out as much of the capacity as possible so that we have it for greater and/or much more beneficial things. There are 2 variables that we can alter:
1. The quantity of concerns
2. The perceived size (bigness) of the concerns, via magnification and exaggeration.
Obviously the quantity of concerns would tend to fill the pipeline's capacity more and more. If we keep on re-inserting one item it will use up more capacity over time than if things just went in once and then came out the other end, drifting away into nothingness.
But how big (in size) we make the concerns will fill more of the pipeline for any one item. I use the term "how big we 'make' the concerns" because we are the ones that add (often false) importance and we are the ones who add the meaning of such as "it's a threat" to whatever area we are afraid of losing in.
The first phase is to identify what the actual effect is of the items of concern that we tend to keep in mind.
If I care about people's opinions of me, can I discriminate sufficiently so that I only care about the opinions of a limited number of people whose opinions might possibly actually affect me? Yes, I can if I really think it out to see which people to limit it to and to properly see that those who can't affect me with any consequences cannot logically be of concern - those people's opinions are irrelevant totally to my welfare.
In fact, if we had a "topographic" map with "heighth" in it, we would see that our square box is like a square mountain, with flat ground around it and gradually rising so that above the middle it is high...except in actuality it is more like a geometric graph...with the mountain so high that if we lose a bit here and there it makes no difference.
And if we know we always have more then enough and, in fact, a lot, the our concern about a "loss" is diminished and it takes less (or none) of our attention. With that freed up attention we can turn it to something with a higher payoff.
But notice that a very big, influential person who is only affecting a very little of your lifel has very little effect on your welfare, although you might "like" his approval as a generality of being approved of by big shots it actually has minimal effect on you. It is virtually of no consequence to you and simply needs to be dismissed, as you have better things to do with your attention and time.
IS IT OF ZERO CONSEQUENCE, REALLY?
And from that practice, you can disappear one at a time an imagined fear in our vagueness of thinking - gone forever, freeing up the pipeline and the reservoir.