scarcity of attention is actually a good thing

The other day, I filled out a post-event survey for the Ethereal Summit, where I was given a set number of points to spend on expressing how I felt about different aspects of the event. The cost varied, depending on the intensity of feeling I wanted to express. So, there was a list of questions or statements to respond to with positive or negative feedback on a scale of intensity. 

Seeing that I had a limited supply (I watched the video provided), I immediately skipped the first two questions because I didn't care about them all that much. I responded to the next one, and then another, and watched my total pool of points go down, and the price of participation go up -when I expressed a higher level of intensity of feeling about my views.  

As I got further in, I found more questions that I wanted to answer -and that I didn't have enough points to be as emphatic as I had been so far.

So, I revised some of my previously stated feelings to enable me to:

  • cover as many topics as I really really wanted to weigh in on,
  • reflect my views -and their intensity for me- as accurately as I could,
  • do both relative to the context of the total questions I was asked (in other words: within the point-limit that constrained the conversation).


Until that moment, I don't think I fully got the intrinsic role of scarcity of when it comes to how I make decisions, what my choices signify for others, and the quality of experiences all that leads to -for myself and as a participant in a group.

In a usual survey, I would have answered every question and probably provided less (and less meaningful/actionable) information by doing so.