Diffuse Awareness vs. Single-Focus

As a life coach, I continue to learn and grow. One of the top needle-movers for me was Alison Armstrong and her understanding of men and women. Here is one point that will help you elevate yourself and those around you.

Men and women need to understand each other. Our differences are valuable. “We really were meant to shore up each other’s weaknesses,” says communication expert Alison Armstrong. One of the main differences Armstrong discusses is diffuse awareness verses single-focused awareness.

It is women’s diffuse awareness that causes the multitasking women are famous for. We watch TV and knit a sweater, we drive and plan our day, or we’re on the phone while checking email. Diffuse awareness even affects our vision. Women have “scan vision,” which enables us to enter a room and scan for an item. Imagine how useful this was to our ancestors as they scanned a meadow for edible food.

Our male ancestors navigated the world differently. Instead of scan vision, they employed hunting strategies, which included being single-focused. Men (hunters) had to focus on one thing to catch their pretty. Their vision allowed them to cast a spear with remarkable accuracy, but their strengths weren’t in finding a needle in a haystack.

Men might screen out everything irrelevant to the task at hand—even their partner. When this happens, try to remember men are wired to focus on one task at a time. Likewise, if you are multitasking when communicating with your partner, he may feel you aren’t paying attention to him or that you’re choosing a task over him


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