What is in it for me? Focus, focus, focus.
You’ll find out why the best quality for a leader is not the ability to keep their eyes on the prize, but actually self-awareness or empathy.
Attention is the key to high performance in a world of endless distractions.
However, the distractions that engulf us not only threaten to waste our time and reduce our productivity, they also diminish our ability to immerse ourselves in a subject, reducing our chances of reaching a state of flow and thus learning and discovering new things.
So if we can develop our ability to ignore distractions and focus well, we can help to increase our performance, and enable ourselves to have more profound reflections and deeper insights.
Life “on automatic” diminishes our experience of the present moment.
The bottom-up mind, responsible for our automatic and routine mental activity, is very fast, driven by our emotions, and impulsive. In contrast, the top-down mind, in charge of planning, reflection and learning new skills, is slower and requires voluntary attention and self-control.
All types of attention are valuable; open awareness is vital for creative breakthroughs.
This is because allowing our minds to wander provides fertile ground for serendipitous insights.
Great leadership hinges on effectively capturing and directing the attention of a collective.
We’ve all heard tales of bosses who are very critical of employees and seem to enjoy pushing them past their natural limits. This attitude creates a toxic atmosphere as their narrow focus on the “prize” blinds them to how they’re affecting the people around them.Now consider a leader that pays attention to her team, praises their small wins, and often admits that there are tasks that she herself couldn’t perform.
Such a leader has self-awareness – she knows her own limitations and is able to assemble a strong team that will compensate for such gaps. She trusts in the abilities of others and allows them to do their job in their own way.
A great vision is central to any strong business plan, but bringing such a vision to reality requires a brilliant leader who is able to communicate it clearly to others and convince them it’s a worthwhile cause.
Inspiring leaders look beyond their own comfort and are motivated to help other people to become successful.
This is a classic case of what can happen when a leader can’t see how their actions affect others and what kind of reactions they generate. To be able to anticipate how others react to your actions, you need to first understand how they see you and this demands self-awareness on your part.
Successful leaders are aware of the larger context in which they operate.
To avoid being blindsided by the competition, leaders should devote much of their attention to exploring new opportunities for development
Meditation will help you focus on one thing and keep track of your attention span.
The key to training your attention is being able to maintain an awareness of your own mental processes – like noticing when your mind starts to drift away from the object of focus. This is called meta-awareness.
The main thing is that you’re aware of the wandering and that you refocus your attention onto your breath and keep it there.
As with practicing meta-awareness, meditation helps us to recognize when our minds begin to wander and strengthens our ability to focus on what’s important.
In these moments, practicing meta-awareness enables you to notice that you’re anxious and to take certain steps to calm yourself down – for example, taking a slow, deep breath – before continuing with the test.
Think happy thoughts: positive thinking is vital for sustaining motivation and achieving goals.
Another reason for the positive effect of a good mood is that our focus shapes our reality and this has important consequences for the way we handle big challenges.
Feeling positive opens our minds to experiencing new things and meeting new people. If you’ve ever thought about moving to a different city or country you’ll know that it’s a scary step to take. But a positive person who has a cheerful disposition will view it as an adventure full of exciting possibilities, as positive thinking enables that person to focus on the new experiences that being in a new city presents and thus to actually embrace the inevitable changes and deal better with setbacks.