A deep dive into one of the 8 Critical Capabilities from the book PowerUp8
“What we intend to … and pay attention to … become our reality.” John Keehoe
ARE YOU PAYING ATTENTION TO YOUR INTENTION?
It makes a whole lot of sense that if we set our intentions clearly (what we want to be, do or have), and then pay attention to our thoughts, choices and actions to support these intentions … in every moment in every day … that we will have a pretty good chance of achieving them. For example, if we want to learn a new language or skill; the more mind time and physical time we spend practicing a new skill the more likely we are to succeed.
But how often have you found yourself being distracted or side-tracked from your plans for the day or week? Most of us want to show up as our best selves, be respected and have a positive impact on others. Why do we forget?
The trick is training our brain to pay ATTENTION and maintain FOCUS! Every day we are bombarded with e-mails, WhatsApp’s, social media feeds, likes and calls. We are continuously pulled in different directions by our bosses, family, colleagues, customers, and the personal chores we just have to get done. We also face multiple challenges daily which disrupt our to do lists – new leaders, roles, technology and products, sudden school meetings or projects, car issues, health challenges, friends in crisis, home or childcare issues and traffic jams. We also face so many juicy temptations such as Netflix and fun social events – and why shouldn’t we be allowed to chill and have a life? So how do we maintain our attention and focus in a world of overwhelming distractions AND find that perfect balance of achieving goals AND enjoying the sweetness of life?
We live in a world of constant connectedness. As our real and digital lives merge, we receive many benefits of convenience, speed, and connection BUT also face the risks of false news, inaccurate data, digital avatars posing as real people, chat bots or robots programmed by unethical humans, cyber-attacks, digital predators, brain overload, human isolation, and many others. We need the savvy to consciously create and contribute to our digital footprint in a conscious manner and learn to filter, discern and detox to stay healthy, safe, and sane. Cell phone addiction or Nomophobia (fear of being without a mobile device) is very real with many physical psychological effects. Over 70% of people experience anxiety over losing our phones and our pre-occupation with smart phones leads to a decrease in empathy, presence, and connection in relationships.
OVERWHELMED OR FOCUSED?
Some days (or parts of days) you may find yourself falling into the trap of being the distracted operator. Other times or days you able to call upon the wise discerner and be able to notice bad choices before acting on them and stay focused on the most important things. Wouldn’t it be great, if we could spend most of our time in our wise discerner identity with a little break every now and then to just float and go with the flow for a bit?
The major difference between these two states of being, is whether you are operating a default old operating system (instilled through your upbringing and social conditioning) or whether you have upgraded your original software through a conscious effort to create new neural paths and faster, more powerful processing capacity that is relevant for your age and this time.
Wise discerners are Focused, Decisive, Discerners. They believe that their intention (goals) and attention (focus) will determine their energy and their results. They believe they can watch and choose their thoughts, emotions, behaviour and how they spend their time. They believe in consciously developing their minds, programs and power to make wise choices. They believe they should be guided by their conscience. They generally feel focused, calm, patient, reflective and healthy. They use language like let’s focus, and ask what is important here, how will this impact, what we can do differently, let’s be wise here. They have daily habits like planning and prioritising, pausing to reflect, mindfulness practice, managing focus, attention, time and energy.
Distracted operators on the other hand are Drifters, Distracted, Deflectors. They tend to believe that it is better to be spontaneous and not rock the boat. They believe being busy and multi-tasking makes them efficient and important. They believe they have very little control over their thoughts, feelings or lives or believe they can catch everything up later. They generally feel overwhelmed, flustered, tired and distracted. They use language like I am overwhelmed, I can’t help it, I can’t seem to get things done, there’s too much to do, I’m so drained, why me, who cares? They have daily habits like procrastinating, blaming, multi-tasking, being distracted with social media or conversations or problems and bouncing between urgent issues or dramas.
DAILY HACKS AND HABITS FOR CONSCIOUSNESS
Practice these daily habits to practice your ability to deal with disruptive, complex demands on your time and energy and still show up with results and impact.
Habit #1: Conscious intent
Make your intentions very clear and visible – write them down and display them visually for regular reminders of what is most important to you. Create a vision board for the wall or door or a digital board on Pinterest or a screen saver for your computer or mobile. Try MindMovies.com
Habit #2: Conscious attention
Make it a habit to pause every hour or so and check in on where your attention has been. Notice what pulls you away from what is important. Make a list. Is it noise, people, texts, notifications, daydreaming, FOMO, saying yes to last minute requests from others, craving food, coffee or nicotine?
Habit #3: Conscious being
Practice the skill of becoming the Witness, the state in which watch yourself thinking, feeling, doing while you are doing it. Quieten your mind and be still long enough to stop the incessant chatter of the analytical mind and become aware of a part of yourself beyond the mind. Bring back your CHOICE!
Habit #4: Conscious time
Time is the one thing that we never seem to have enough of. We have equal amounts of it but use it very differently. Watch Jay Chetty on YouTube “Before You Waste Time – WATCH THIS”. Practice using the Stephen Covey’s Urgent vs Important matrix or get some great time tips from Tim Ferris in the 4-Hour Work Week.
Habit #5: Conscious space
Effective multi-tasking is a myth. It has been proven that people that try to switch between tasks are significantly less productive that those able to focus and complete something first. People need space to do “deep work” to get more and higher quality output in less time. Create your time and space for this.
Habit #6: Conscious consumption
We are not just what we eat but what we consume. How much of your daily input consists of positive or uplifting data, news, music or people vs negative or draining data, complainers, wasted meetings or reading trivial social media posts? Start your day with energising or calming input before interacting with the outside world. Set your filters to ignore or avoid too many negative influences in your day and build your own internal self-talk to boost your confidence and emotional resilience. Be the guard at the door to your mind.
“Remember that your perception of the world is a reflection of your state of consciousness.” Eckhart Tolle
TIPS, TOOLS AND RESOURCES
We have listed a few WISE DISCERNER resources below and many more are in the PowerUp8 book. If you are interested in exploring and learning more, here are some of our favourite tips, tools and resources to accelerate your journey to becoming a Wise Discerner.
- The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich, Timothy Ferriss, 2011
- The Power Of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is The Key To High Performance And Personal Renewal, Jim Loehr & Tony Schwartz, 2017
- Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder, Arianna Huffington, 2015