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Congrats On Your Unfocused Mind

An excerpt from “Attention Surplus” (which is “a hundred meditative thoughts that reframe the concept of ADD from a strength- and empowerment-based perspective”):


1. A focused mind is a closed mind: to pay attention to one thing is to ignore another thing.

3. Mind is one-track: to pay attention to “this” is to ignore “that.”

4. Attention is zero-sum: to see one thing is to be blind to another thing.

5. That’s how attention works.  And that is normal.

6. To focus is to zoom in.

7. To zoom in is to notice the Small, the Specific, the Particular, the Detail.

8. To zoom in is to ignore the Big Picture, to lose sight of the rest of what exists.

9. Thus, to focus on the Small is to ignore the Large.

10.  Thus, to focus on one thing is to close your mind to the rest of what currently exists.

11.  To focus on a detail, on the specific is to ignore the Context.  And this can be dangerous!


12.  Realize: to pay too much attention to a banana is to ignore a jungle full of snakes.

13.  Understand: hyper-focus is an evolutionary risk.

14.  Realize: sustained attention is costly.

15.  Understand: a hyper-focused mind potentially puts its own body at risk.

16.  Thus, a focused mind is not just a closed mind but also an unsafe mind.


17.  We weren’t built to lose, we were built to survive.  This is true for you, me and all of us.


18.  Understand: your so-called “attention deficit” is not a deficit but an adaptation.

19.  Realize: your so-called “attention deficit” is not a problem but a solution.

20.  Understand: your so-called “attention deficit” is actually a surplus of attention.


21.  An unfocused mind is an open mind.

22.  An unfocused mind is a fluid mind.

23.  An unfocused mind doesn’t get stuck on one thing: it scans the Context.

24.  An unfocused mind is context-ready.

25.  An unfocused mind is open to anything and is thus ever-ready.

26.  An unfocused mind is an evolutionary asset, not an evolutionary liability.


27.  Congratulations to you if you have an unfocused mind!


“Attention Surplus: Rethinking ADD” (P.  Somov, 2012)


Congrats On Your Unfocused Mind

Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D.

Pavel Somov, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in private practice and the author of 7 mindfulness-based self-help books. Several of his books have been translated into Chinese, Dutch & Portuguese. Somov is on the Advisory Board for the Mindfulness Project (London, UK). Somov has conducted numerous workshops on mindfulness-related topics and appeared on a number of radio programs. Somov's book website is and his practice website is

Marla Somova, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Pittsburgh, PA. She is the co-author of "Smoke Free Smoke Break" (2011).

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APA Reference
Somov, P. (2012). Congrats On Your Unfocused Mind. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 21, 2019, from


Last updated: 10 May 2012
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