The urgency red flag

Several people signal urgency to grab our attention – more so in an era when attention is perceived to be the new oil.

“Claim your Christmas discount before the 18th of December. Limited offer only!”

“Our religion is in danger unless we do something drastic right now!”

“We need a revolution overnight to address the problem of global income inequality.”

These messages exhort us to react right now. They are designed to hijack our attention and suspend our ability to scrutinize our response. In the real world, though, the most effective solutions do not emerge overnight. On the bright side, most threats aren’t as grave as they are portrayed to be. Both positive and negative developments precipitate by small actions everyday that compound over time.

When these actions reach a particular threshold, they grab our attention. But what we fail to see is how they got to that point. And several people are willing to cash in on this blind spot, trigger our fears of missing out and have us do their bidding.

The problem with needlessly urgent messages is that they distract us from doing the work that matters the most – to address a problem drop-by-drop every single day.

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