Multitasking Myth


The Modern Multitasking Myth

Multitasking has become the latest slogan. One constantly hears about how women can do multitasking whereas men cannot, and numerous commercials depict women multitasking—and as is usual with commercials, this multitasking myth is taken to ridiculous lengths. And as is also usual with commercials, there are always people who believe their exaggerated messages, even if only to a limited extent. I’ve had women argue with me that men cannot do multitasking, while multitasking comes naturally to women, while others argue that men can do multitasking, but women can do it so much better. There are even articles and books by ‘experts’ on how to do perform this modern, multitasking myth.

Multitasking Simply Cannot Be Done

When I tell people that it is not possible to focus on more than one thing at a time, they ask, “But what about multitasking?”

The multitasking myth has become so ingrained that many people insist that they do it, and are not interested in facts to the contrary. Well, it is time to put the multitasking myth to bed once and for all.

It is true that men cannot do multitasking—but, it is also true that women cannot do multitasking. As soon as one understands how we focus, it becomes patently obvious that multitasking is not possible. In any event, one can give all the explanations one wants, and there will always be people who aren’t convinced, or believe that they are somehow different to everyone else, therefore, they should be able to do things others cannot do. So, I have included a simple experiment that anyone can do, and thus gain firsthand experience of the rational mind’s inability to focus on more than one thing at a time. 

Focus Exposes the Multitasking Myth

Focus is an extremely common word used and heard in many situations, and as such, is reasonably well understood. We know what it means to focus. What very few know anything about however, is the mental act of focusing. And what even fewer (almost no one) know anything about, is the tremendous power that focus gives us in controlling and creating our physical reality. In this task, focus has absolutely no competition, and is therefore irreplaceable.

Using focus as a tool, for controlling and creating our future, physical reality, is covered in great depth elsewhere. This brief article on focus is merely an introduction to this powerful, indispensable tool each of us has been given.

Focus Means Focus

The rational mind can focus on only one thing at a time.

Most people are unaware that the rational mind can focus on only one thing at a time, and refuse to believe this, until they experience it for themselves; “The only source of knowledge is experience” (Albert Einstein).

Check How Well You Can Focus

Let’s say you were sitting at a table, with your right elbow resting on the table. Between the forefinger and thumb of your right hand, you were holding a pencil near the top, so that the pencil was hanging down over the table. So that if you were to relax your grip, the pencil would fall to the table.

Would you be able drop the pencil?

Of course you would—to drop the pencil is a simple, rational mind decision.

While holding the pencil suspended over the table, would you be able to say, “I can drop this”?

Of course you would—to say, “I can drop this”, is a simple rational mind decision.

Would you be able to drop the pencil while thinking, “I can drop this?”

Of course you would not. Why not? Because:

  • Dropping the pencil requires a simple, rational mind decision,
  • Actively deciding to think, “I can drop this,” also requires a simple, rational mind decision.

This would require two simple, rational mind decisions—while your rational mind can do the one or the other—but cannot do both simultaneously.

To be able to drop the pencil, you would have to stop thinking of the words for a moment, to allow your rational mind to shift its focus from the act of thinking, “I can drop this,” to the act of relaxing the muscles to release the pencil.

Try This for Yourself

If you doubt this, try this simple experiment. Sit at a table holding a pencil as described above: Now, stare unblinkingly at the back of the pencil, and while you continue to stare at the back of the pencil, think to yourself, “I can drop it. I can drop it. I can drop it.” In your mind, repeat these words over and over without interruption, while you continue staring at the back of the pencil without interruption.

You will find that as long as you continue staring at the back of the pencil and continue saying the words over and over in your mind, you will not be able to drop the pencil.

If you find yourself dropping the pencil, it would mean that you had interrupted your focus for a brief moment. That could be either because you had not understood the instructions correctly, or that you had decided to cheat.

What is Happening to Me?

Yes, you are holding onto the pencil, and thinking at the same time. But holding the pencil while thinking, does not require a new decision. The rational mind has already made the decision to hold the pencil. Whereas, to drop the pencil, the rational mind needs to make a new decision.

Still Not Convinced?

Now someone might argue that one can talk while driving a car. Let’s examine that claim. Most of your driving is habitual—where the rational mind decisions how to react to given situations were made long ago when you first learned to drive. So, your body reacts autonomously in such situations, without requiring a rational mind decision. But, as soon as the driving experience requires non-habitual responses, talking will mess things up—you will not be able to keep talking smoothly and uninterruptedly. You will find yourself shutting up to make decisions, and then talking again, and even losing track of what you were saying.

The Road to Disaster

Try driving and having a mobile phone conversation, where you are being asked to supply information which requires you to make decisions before answering. Questions like:

  • What is your estimate of the project costs thus far?
  • Can you estimate a completion date?
  • Will you finish phase one by the end of the month?

This is a recipe for a serious accident—I know, I’ve been there and done that. (Had the experience, that is—but fortunately, I narrowly avoided the serious accident). Your rational mind has become expert at hiding this limitation—you stop one task and attend to another, then go back to the other task. You do this switching of focus from one task to the other so rapidly, and without conscious awareness, that it seems to happen seamlessly and simultaneously.

It will shortly become clear that this limitation of the rational mind, while seeming at first like a weakness, is a great strength, and absolutely critical in the Game of physical creation.


A Past Master of Focus

Someone who clearly demonstrated the power of focus was Albert Einstein.

  • He had impressive powers of concentration. Einstein’s sister, Maja, recalled, “. . . even when there was a lot of noise, he could lie down on the sofa, pick up a pen and paper, precariously balance an inkwell on the backrest and engross himself in a problem so much, that the background noise stimulated rather than disturbed him.”
  • Einstein’s parents sometimes took Albert to parties. Young Albert needed no babysitter. He sat on the couch, totally absorbed, quietly doing math problems while others danced around him.

Einstein was clearly intelligent, but not outlandishly more so than his peers. “I have no special talents,” he claimed. “I am only passionately curious.” “The contrast between the popular assessment of my powers  . . .  and the reality is simply grotesque.”

Einstein credited his discoveries to persistent questioning and imagination (focus and Intuition) rather than to orthodox intelligence. Focus and Intuition—two incredibly powerful tools of creation—more on both elsewhere.

Thank you:

for allowing me to share this article on the multitasking myth. I hope you found this discussion interesting and informative. Most of all, I hope you found it thought provoking.

Would you like to:

  • Read the first article in this series on logical decisions, beliefs and convictions? You can find it here,
  • Read the entire story of our purpose in this physical reality and how we create our own reality? You can find it here.

Fond regards, until next time


John Richard

About the Author



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