What is the difference between something that is “Important” and something that is “Urgent?”
Our own biases, both pattern and cognitive, often prevent us from telling the difference. In a world where pretty much everything is conducted in “HOLY HELL, THIS IS A FIRE!” Mode, it has become even more important to be able to tell the difference. Or at least have an idea of whether or not something requires your complete attention or is just… well… noise.
We humans are experts at recognizing patterns. It’s called “pattern bias” and it is an evolutionary gift that has allowed us to know when to plant crops; when to move to higher ground; when to bundle up and even detect potential danger. The problem with pattern bias is that as often as not, we see patterns that aren’t really there. Instead of investigating and confirming them, we simply accept them as a fact. So in today’s world, when it’s unlikely that a tiger is going to leap out of the foliage and eat you, our natural tendency to look for patterns leads us into other areas. And in our society, the constant bombardment of a cacophony of informational noise serves to fulfill our evolutionary need to look for patterns.
What do I mean? Let’s take a look at my News App* this morning and see what we can learn…
*For the record, I use “SmartNews.” It advertises itself as “unbiased” and for whatever it’s worth, most of the rating places feel it is such. I find it overly busy, requiring a lot of scrolling to get through the stories AND there is almost no mechanism for returning to a story after a push update. I also question the term “unbiased,” although in today’s world that has come to mean “approved news stories.” Overall, as it is free it’s worth what I paid for it, and it is useful to a degree. But I prefer to use my own RSS feeds that I have built through the years.