It's convenient for those of us who can remember a time when there were no distracting digital devices clamoring for our attention to place the blame for shortened attention spans squarely on the shoulders of technology. But that doesn't really get us anywhere, does it?
The simple act of acknowledging someone by name fuels them -- tasks on the lower level are done with more enthusiasm, with more precision, with greater desire for accuracy, with a refusal to disappoint. It's an exchange of value.
Severe, debilitating anxiety has afflicted Scott Stossel his entire life, a life he describes in his morbidly fascinating new memoir, My Age of Anxiety. His case may be especially tormenting, but he is far from alone in this plight.
What if I told you that the way we are talking about attention is part of the problem? Our conversation about distraction, multitasking, and the stern command to focus, actually creates a level of stress, anxiety, and shame.
And in our experience of a lazy brain, somehow it all seems as though it's 'happening' to us, rather than an inner state we've (subconsciously) created. Time to train our brains, by educating the guards at the gates.
What can a pickpocket teach us about the art of getting people's attention? A lot - if you can keep up with him. Watch expert thief Apollo Robbins in action and see if you can figure out how he does it.
Our son Jacob is thirteen months. From dawn till dusk he treads the threshold between the togetherness we share with him and the secret space he is beginning to find in himself. At this age -- all ages pass so quickly! -- the contrast between the two is most visible in his relationship to books.
Learning how to speak well won't guarantee your little pumpkin will get into an elite college or land a great job when he graduates. But I can't think of a single thing in life that's made more difficult by effective communication.
More often than not, battles over homework lead to vicious cycles of nagging by parents and avoidance or refusal by children, with no improvement in a child's school performance -- and certainly no progress toward what should be our ultimate goals.