Even the smartest people sometimes struggle to stay in the zone. What tricks do they use to get back on track? Most of the essentials of my job come down to concentration and focus. It is not a matter of memory, but of how best to use and deploy what one has remembered. That is true if, for example, you are marking a student’s essay. It is not a question of seeing what they get wrong or right (my subject isn’t really about that, others may be). It is about seeing what the student was trying to argue, and how they could make it better and more convincing. That sounds simple, but it requires a hell of a lot of thought. The same is true of lecturing, or writing the chapter of a book. It is all about how you can use what you know to make the most powerful case, to engage people’s interest, or to show why what you want to say is important.
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