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The Trivia Effect

Lisa (my wife) really looks forward to Monday nights.

Our youngest child has a long gymnastics class, which means that Lisa gets some extended alone time while sitting in the viewing gallery.

After gymnastics, she brings our daughter home where my son and I are waiting and then it's time for Monday night trivia.

Lisa has been going to Monday night trivia with a group of close friends for a few months now.

If you've never been to a trivia night before, it's kind of what you might it imagine it would be.

A collection of random questions. Some old, some new. A music round. Some other random things.

All in all, a great time.

What I want to reflect on here, is what Monday night trivia has done for Lisa.

Specifically, how Monday night trivia has changed the way that Lisa pays attention.

To illustrate my point, I'd like to focus on one aspect of trivia night, the music round.

The round usually consists of 10 songs.

I believe you get a half point for the artist and a half point for the song, for a maximum of ... 10 points.

The other day, Lisa and I were driving in our car with two friends, one of whom is Lisa's team member for Monday night trivia.

For almost the entire length of our one hour and 30 minute drive, we basically played music trivia with the radio.

A song would start playing, we would try to guess the title and the artist, and our car dashboard would reveal if we were right or not.

I have never paid such close attention to the radio before. I am certain Lisa hasn't either.

The beautiful thing is, this wasn't a one-time occurrence.

Lisa and I have been on several drives since, and we play this game all the time now.

She's always trying to practice for the music round, which is a Monday night trivia staple.

You know that strange phenomenon that happens when you're interested in something, and then you suddenly start seeing that thing everywhere?

Let's say you just bought a green car (which we did), all of a sudden it seems there's a million other green cars on the road.

To me, that phenomenon almost feels like a narrowing of your vision.

You focus on something and then all of a sudden that's the only thing you're seeing everywhere.

The trivia effect has a very similar beginning, but the opposite outcome.

You focus on something—practicing for the music round in Monday night trivia—and then all of a sudden every song you hear becomes a guessing game.

To me, this feels like a widening of your vision.

You're not just focused on a particular song, you're open to hearing—and trying to guess—any song.

What I admire about the trivia effect is that it's focused on helping you get better at your craft, by changing the way you pay attention.

When thought of this way, this idea can be applied to many other crafts.

A writer who reads differently because they are trying to get better at dissecting dialogue.

A marketer who orders coffee differently because they are trying to observe what good experience looks like.

A home cook who inspects a menu differently because they are trying to better understand flavour pairings.

You have a craft.

What effect is it having on you?

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