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.
It may be that combining eating with mental work -- even something as mindless as watching reruns -- diminishes the taste of food. With our attention focused elsewhere, the mind becomes less sensitive to tastes like saltiness and sweetness.
We are human beings at work. Sometimes delicate times call for a slight reminder. Managing one's intake of information under such circumstances is directly related to what I call the new APR in the workplace: the attention, productivity and resilience of talent.
It may seem obvious but saying that it is important to pay attention and actually paying attention are two very different things. We need everyone, including our leaders, to stop the autopilot mode and to begin to train the mind's capabilities to pay attention.