Image of an Attention Chameleon

‘You can become blind by seeing each day as a similar one. Each day is a different one, each day brings a miracle of its own. It’s just a matter of paying attention to this miracle.’

– Paulo Coelho

 

What do you see in front of you?  Do you really see what is there?  Are you present and paying focused attention to it?

Maybe you have three things you must get done today.  Each of them jumbles your head and competes for attention, and you allow it.  You’re good at multi-tasking (you think) and are oblivious to the noise going on around you.  You probably missed the opportunity to get your work done more efficiently.  Maybe you could have got some assistance from that person walking by.

The fact is that multitasking provides less efficiency.  You are better off working out your primary task, forgetting the others and getting down to effectively tackling the work in front of you.  Sometimes I find it hard to settle so I go straight to my music.  At times I’ll use an app called focusatwill.  It uses music to boost concentration and even better it’s based on scientific research.

If we follow the same old routine each day the familiar becomes stale and things seem the same.  Well often they are but that doesn’t mean that you should pay them less attention.  Learn to see the things that you should appreciate.  Practice being more observant.  This is a worthwhile skill to build.  You can train your brain to focus and to pay more ‘on demand’ attention.

Take three days in a row.  Make a specific effort to spend a 30 minute period of your day being more observant, whether it be at lunch people watching, or on the way to work, or while out for a walk in the forest.

Comment below and let me know what you’ve noticed while paying attention to your day.

Photo Credit: John Goode

Golden Beach Karpaz Peninsula

There is more to life than increasing its speed.

~Mohandas K. Gandhi

 

I just made the most of a long weekend.  Early morning on Friday, I took off to get away from the routine of home and find a great place to leave the week behind.  This journey was a little different though – normally I would take a little work with me, something to do in those spare moments after I’d had my first day to chill out.  I’d left it all behind, the phone, the laptop, the business magazine review and the newspaper.

Total log off.

The first few hours travelling gave time to let go of the daily churn of work thoughts, find an acceptable radio station and just listen and drive.

I arrived at destination relaxo.  Rudimentary beach huts, full scale beach, limited punters and only time to lay around, read, eat and relax.

I’ve been on these trips away many times before, but always looked for the next great thing to do and explore.  This time was set for the total opposite of lift-off.  My time for logging out.  So I slept.

I slept in my beach hut

I slept on the lounger,

I slept on the beach towel,

I slept in the chair,

I slept.

Wow was that good.  To take the real time out and just let go.  Leave the work to the workdays and power up in the sunshine.

Next time you head away try it out – log off, leave the tech at home and take time to relax.

 

successful-or-not,

 

We will be more successful in all our endeavours if we can let go of the habit of running all the time, and take little pauses to relax and re-centre ourselves. And we’ll also have a lot more joy in living. 

– Thich Nhat Hanh

Everyone is chasing success.  I don’t know why.

Imagine the journey to become the best you can be.  To do so requires years and years of input, doing the same thing over and over (and over).  It’s fine to experiment and trial a few things but you will have to be super-focused on the minutiae and detail.  Some people spend over 40 years doing the same thing.  Same job, different day.  Yawn.

You can become the master at anything in just 10,000 hours.  That’s not 40 years.

How about working out the minimum possible effort you need to take to become fantastically brilliant at something.  Practice makes perfect, but as Tim Ferriss says…

‘By working only when you are most effective, life is both more productive and more enjoyable. It’s the perfect example of having your cake and eating it, too.’

Stop doing the busy work and the box-ticking stuff.  Ferriss also says…

‘Doing less meaningless work, so that you can focus on things of greater personal importance, is NOT laziness. This is hard for most people to accept, because our culture [American] tends to reward personal sacrifice instead of personal productivity.’

For years I chased the standard model and put in the pain, sweat and tears – the personal sacrifice to work for the big machine, a series of corporate high consultancies.  I did my more than my 10,000 hours and didn’t become the master.

So, I failed…

Well not quite.  I decided to escape the 40 years trot towards standard old retirement.  Golf on Thursday’s, bowls on Saturdays and playing bridge on Monday’s.

I escaped.  That’s success.

Now I can do what I choose.  I’m unchained, unencumbered by the 9 to 5 race.  For me though success comes when I have made the DEAL – to have put in place the constructs that lead to living a life of freedom.

To have freedom from doing the things that I just do not like doing.   And the freedom and courage to pursue my dreams without doing work for work’s sake.

When I’ve managed that I can say that I am successful.

 

Elusive

 

Ideas are elusive, slippery things.  Best to keep a pad of paper and a pencil at your bedside, so you can stab them during the night before they get away

– Earl Nightingale

 

 

The other day I was looking for just the right type of shoes.  The other ones I really like were having a major blowout and of course I just wanted to find a new pair exactly the same.  So I looked, and looked, and looked.  I tried online, looked at the other stores and even drove for an hour to the best shop I could think of – just to find the shoes.  I stood waiting in the shop for 20 mins while the disorganised staff looked and looked and searched and scratched their heads.

No luck.  I went home.  My new shoes were being elusive.  I was finding it hard to meet with them.

I shared my frustration with a friend.  I couldn’t find the shoes, and the shoe staff couldn’t either.  They made the chance of finding them less likely.  They made the shoes elusive.

Flying the next day, my friend suggested why not try out the airport.  Could the airport have my shoes?

There it was, the same shop I visited in the city.  Smaller, contained, organised, different and not so elusive.  The staff were attentive.  The shoes were there on the shelf.  I left 5 minutes later  knowing they fitted well.

What if the shoes weren’t in the shop?  I might have given up forever.  The shoes would have remained elusive.

Sometimes it’s hard to find things you really want or need.  It takes an element of determination, discussion, research and persistence to get hold of that elusive thing.  If it doesn’t come to you first time, try again.

Be persistent. Ask more questions about elusive things and you might just find what you are looking for.

 

 

The Mindset Cow

 

Mindset – the ideas and attitudes with which a person approaches a situation, especially when these are seen as being difficult to alter.  Collins English Dictionary

 

Well you can’t have it all but…

We all have the chance to learn new things, to stretch ourselves and to experiment with making change in our lives.  Why do we do it?  We have a natural drive (all of us do) to do a little better every day.

It’s not hard to sit and consider what could have been.  In fact why not just create a library of could haves.

It’s easy.

It’s a little harder to take the bulls by the horns and make one small change each day.  After 30 days you made 30 small changes.  I reckon that equals one big change (you might thinks it’s ten).

Take your mindset and question everything.  What might it look like on the other side of the fence.

  • 30 could haves might be 30 did haves
  • 30 non-starts could be 30 wins
  • 30 small changes could equal the best thing you ever made

I don’t feel like getting out of bed today might turn into a morning run, or reading a favourite book, or writing a letter (yes a letter) home…

or maybe spending morning time with your child before going to work.

Make you mindset a positive one.  Change a little bit every day and remember to look over the fence to see whats on the other side.

 

 

 

Stretch My Ear - Abundance

 

When I think about creating abundance, it’s not about creating a life of luxury for everybody on this planet; it’s about creating a life of possibility. It is about taking that which was scarce and making it abundant.

– Peter Diamandis

 

When was the last time you dreamed of a goal that was just so big it was something you could not comprehend?  How do we manage to stretch our beliefs and challenge ourselves to massive goals?

I recently heard that we find it difficult to set realistic short term goals and we tend to overestimate our ability.  So we might fail and drop, stand up, dust ourselves off and move on, try again and push ahead.

However, when it comes to our 3-5 year window, we actually sell ourselves short with our goals.  We can actually achieve a massive amount in this short time, the time it takes to study at University, or build a base of experience.  In that time we could work 10,000 hours.  We could become a master at something.

belief

Every man prefers belief to the exercise of judgment.

~Seneca

There is no doubt that at times we all carry some form of negative belief, something that likely prevents us from expressing our freedom and our true self – one that can prevent us fulfilling a dream.

Take the negative and reframe it as an empowering form.  I can’t manage to run 3 times a week because I’m just too busy.

When I reorganise my schedule I can, before work, spend 30 minutes and run 3 times a week in the morning.

Reinforce your empowering belief each day, by writing it down and reading it each morning (and evening).