The tendency to lose focus on the subject/objective due to a "shiny object" (aka distraction) caused by focusing too much attention on something indirectly related to that subject/objective. It could be an uknown word, a confusing analogy, a new cliche phrase you've never heard before (aka "corporate talk"), etc.
While sitting in a business meeting listening intently and taking notes on the subjectmatter at hand, a word is mentioned during the discussion that you don't know the meaning of, and automatically you start focusing on that word trying to figure it out while the discussion continues. Eventually you realize you got distracted, but a shitload of information has already been discussed. Although you're able to recall the topic, all the details have zoomed by and all you can do is hope that no one asks for your opinion regarding those details that you missed. Any attempts to restart your notetaking or get back up to speed are futile since whatever notes you take now are unable to be connected with where you left off due to that "shiny object."
by anghang January 26, 2005