Attention to Detail

Attention to Detail

Late 14c, “a giving heed, active direction of the mind upon some object or topic”, from Old French attencion and directly from Latin attentionem, “attention, attentiveness”.

The ability to learn from mistakes and to prevent them, to solve problems and to anticipate them requires attention to what is happening.
It means noticing relevant information, tuning into the weak signals that help create the big picture; it means seeing alternative routes that others may overlook; it means putting into action mechanisms that help store information in our memory to find patterns more easily, connecting the common dots and trying to understand how the various details may affect each other.

This ability requires inhibition of the innumerable stimuli that come from the environment, through a focus that may be spontaneous and involuntary or intentional and controlled.
Attention to detail also goes beyond the ability to grasp the details in a task or see errors when correcting a proof: this skill also involves social and interpersonal situations.
High attention to detail leads us to notice how others around us behave. Even from a simple facial expression, a detail-oriented person can read the feelings of others and sometimes even their intentions.

From our perspective, attention is also learning, and it is important to learn to develop non-selective attention, but broadly based attention because it favours predisposition to free association, critical reflection and creative thinking.
Our abilities, however, are not those of superheroes: the ability to pay attention to things and situations is limited and our memory is not always prodigious, but the good news is that it is a skill we can train.
How? By learning to ask critical-thinking questions, hunting for errors, simplifying complexity, using the power of why, thanks to creativity and curiosity, without moving forward relying on guesswork.
Some people associate attention to detail with being a perfectionist, but this is not necessarily true. A perfectionist is a type of person who does not accept that a project is closed or that any task cannot be considered completed unless it is done to a standard that is no less than perfect. When this perfectionist attitude manifests itself excessively, it may cause stress in the people the perfectionist interacts with, generating problems especially in situations that require teamwork.