The Focus On The Last Thing

from Seth’s Blog

The play before time ran out. The last speech of the campaign. The typo on your resume or the spot on your tie. The final decision before the company declared bankruptcy.

We focus on the thing that happened just before the end. And that’s almost always an unimportant moment.

Things went wrong (or things went right) because of a long series of decisions and implementations. A misguided strategy, a bad hire, a brilliant insight about network effects–these are the acts with leverage, not the obvious thing that all the pundits would like to talk about.

When you get to the thing before the last thing, don’t sweat it. It’s almost certainly too late to make the outcome change. On the other hand, when you’re quietly discussing the thing before that before that before that before that, it might pay to bring more attention to it than the circumstances seem to demand. Because that’s the key moment.

More here.

Posted in Ideas and tagged , .

6 Comments

  1. As I was scrolling through my options of articles to read, I strolled upon this article and was intrigued on what the author meant by “the focus on the last thing.” After reading this article I think it is one that everyone in my generation should read. With social media and technology becoming a part of mine and future generations everyday life, we are always shown “the last thing.” Whether Kevin Durant misses the game winner, or Kanye ad Kim file for divorce we are never shown the facts that led up to these moments. The example that is immediately comes to mind after reading this article is the Seton Hall game vs Louisville during the 2020 season. This was a very close game and Takal Molson in my mind was having an above average game. Although his offense wasn’t there, he gave it his all on every play and was getting rebounds and playing good defense. Yet, if anyone remembers that game the first thing, they will say is that “Takal lost us the game because he missed the final free-throw in order to bring the game in to over time.” I remember vividly my friends saying, “he is the worst player,” even though they are saying this all because of the last play of the game. Everyone only remembers the last play and forgets that the team wouldn’t have even gotten to that point if it wasn’t for is aggressive rebounding and defense. Playing basketball most of my life I understand other aspects of basketball other that just scoring the ball. Yet, social media makes it seem like one moment is the whole reason something happened in a game or in real life. The fact of the matter is that the things that happen before the last matters more than what actually happens last. We need to start paying attention to what happens before the end because that is truly the key moment.

  2. FINAL / EDITED COMMENT:
    I strolled upon this article and was intrigued on what the author meant by “The focus on the last thing.” After reading this article I think it is one that everyone in my generation should read. With social media and technology becoming a part of mine and future generations everyday life, we are always told “the last event is what’s important.” If it’s Kevin Durant missing the game winner, or Kanye ad Kim filing for divorce we are never shown the facts that led up to these moments. The example immediately coming to mind after reading this article is the Seton Hall game vs Louisville during the 2020 season. This was a very close game and Takal Molson was having an above average game. Although his offense wasn’t there, he gave it his all on every play, got rebounds, and played good defense. Yet, anyone remembering the game will say that “Takal lost us the game because he missed the final free-throw in order to bring the game in to over time.” I remember vividly my friends saying, “He is the worst player,” because of the last play of the game. Everyone only remembers the last play and forgets that the team wouldn’t have even gotten to that point if it wasn’t for his aggressive rebounding and defense. From playing basketball most of my life I understand other aspects of the game other than just scoring the ball. Social media makes it seem like one moment is the whole reason something happened in a game or in real life. The fact of the matter is that the things happening before the last moment matters more than what happens last. We need to start paying attention to what happens before the end because that is truly the key moment.

  3. Overall, I really like the messaging of this article. As a whole, this article demonstrates the flaws in the way humans often think about their failures in life. I agree with the author’s main point that the last moment we can remember before failure directly happens is not the sole reason that we as humans fail in those situations. It is in our nature to think this way due to recency bias which has apparent flaws that the author showcases. Personally, when I do not succeed in the way I want, I admit that I find myself guilty of thinking in this flawed way as well. Like the article suggests, when I fail moving forward, I need to try to think of what I did during the whole process so I can pinpoint what I did wrong and how I need to make adjustments to improve moving forward.
    This article also reminds me why people have done poorly in court cases we have discussed in class. In some of the cases, the plaintiffs or defendants have tried to justify their stance based on recent occurrences. This has been proven not to be a good strategy since there is often much more evidence that reveals different aspects of the case and leads to this stance looking foolish. By thinking about this article from this perspective, it made me realize how this way of thinking also demonstrates how humans do not take the proper amount of accountability or responsibility for their actions. In some of the cases we discussed, people either genuinely think they can get away with things because recent actions make them look better or do not have a better defense so they try to use this strategy to win in court. This makes me really appreciate the message of the article and gives me context as to how it has applied to the course. However, I can not help but think as great as this message is, humans will still default to this way of thinking causing them to continue to fail in the future until they make that adjustment.

  4. I found this blog post interesting and relatable because I feel as if practice what the article is talking about when doing speeches for school or talking to friends and family. The article is providing information of how and why people remember the last thing you say as well as the last part of whatever you are involved in is the most relevant thing you end up remembering. This concept can be applied to anything in our lives whether it be school, professional environments, social settings, and more. If you leave the whoever you were speaking to with a positive message or reinforcement, they are more likely to remember the conversation as a positive one or one that ended with a good outcome. The article also dives into how people remember their failures. When people remember the moments in life where the failed, they will most likely remember the moment right before the made the decisions they did or the moment right before that negative thing happened to them. This moment can be positive or negative but we, as humans, will almost always associate that event with a negative connotation.

    I can relate to this concept as an avid sports fan. I feel as if too many sport fans, in general, will make their analysis or opinion on players based on how they played last game or last season compared to their whole career. One example that comes to mind is Ben Simmons, who was recently traded to the Brooklyn Nets last season. Most basketball fans are so quick to forget who dominant he was just a few years ago and how high his potential is. Although this is the reality, basketball fans only remember last season why he didn’t play well and started to develop bad relationships with the 76ers. I feel this concept of recency bias can be applied to other aspects of life such as politics or artists but I feel like I can better grasp the concept when I apply it to the world of sports.

  5. I love how the article focuses on/identifies the flaws that we humans tend to think about when it comes to failing in life. The author’s main viewpoint is that the key last moment we humans tend to vividly remember before we fail is not the definitive reason why we failed in the occurring situations. I am unsure if I agree or disagree with the article because sometimes, I believe the moment right before is sometimes why we fail, due to us getting in our heads and self-sabotaging; but other times I believe it is not the reason why we fail because we as humans tend to fail quite often; in which it is something that is naturally going to happen. In my experiences with failure, I noticed I tend to look at myself in the mirror and tell myself I tried my best and failure is a part of the process; then move on to the next thing in life. I constantly do this because failures build character, we as humans learn through experiences and carry those lessons for the rest of our lives. In comparison as if I took failure as something to put myself down about and feel guilty about, I feel like I would be complacent and wouldn’t be allowed to move on; due to my feeling the sense of guilt of failing although failure is natural. All in all, believe everyone should be okay with failing because it is natural and everyone in life fails.

  6. The Seth blog presented portrays a very important concept that I never thought to think about. As humans, I feel like we make excuses for ourselves a lot instead of facing the consequences presented to us because we are scared of the outcome of our actions. The main idea presented was that the focus is always on the action right before something happened rather than us looking at the decisions we made through the process of the outcome. He said “Things went wrong (or things went right) because of a long series of decisions and implementations” in other words, things didnt go wrong right in the end; it was a cause of the good or bad decisions we made leading up to it as well that play a significant part. What this made me think of is that I should pay more attention to the decisions I am making and think about how they will affect me in the long run, which may cause mew to reconsider my decision. The only argument I have is that we are humans so we make mistakes and just because we may have made a bad decision in the process that could have ultimately landed us in a negative position, we cannot dwell on it forever because we have to move on with our selves. It is a learning process as well so next time, we are able to learn from our mistakes and maybe make a better implementation than last time. I believe that it is true how our decisions will catch up to us in either a positive or negative way but it is important to also not let others influence our decision-making processes because we are our own people and the outcomes made in our life should not have been directed by someone else because if it were bad, we should not have to go through the consequences of someone else’s poor decision-making skills. I really enjoyed analyzing this blog because I thought it gave a great life lesson to learn.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *