13 Jul Off with the pixies? Attention training might help.

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Research from Harvard reveals that we are not living in the moment, we’re ‘off with the pixies’ 46% of the time. How often do you find yourself fully “present” as opposed to dipping between thoughts and tuning in and out of conversations?

Let’s face it, we may turn up at work in body but we’re not really there in mind, heart or soul. Actually ‘being there’ is a massive challenge for all of us, not just professionally but personally. But what if you could train your attention and manage it like a Zen Master?

are you off with the pixies

Distraction: The enemy of attention

We’ve fallen for the myth of multi-tasking – that we can actually divide our time and attention effectively. But the science says, unequivocally, that men and women (yes, ladies, you too) can’t perform more than one task at a time with any degree of prowess.

If you couple this general lack of attention to the present with unprecedented levels of distraction you’ve got a recipe for unconscious living. Which makes it deliciously ironic that business leaders want to talk about “engagement” all the time.

Neither we, nor the people we are trying to lead, are reliably focused or engaged with anything. Can you imagine how much more productive and creative we would all be if we actually turned up in whole-brained, whole-hearted fashion?

To bring their people into the ‘now’ clever companies are introducing attention training and teaching them about the links between neuroscience, mindfulness and emotional intelligence.

Google, one of the world’s  most consistently innovative companies, has pioneered a leadership program called “Search Inside Yourself” that marries ancient teachings with modern neuroscience to build new skills for peak performance and leadership. The two day program teaches mindfulness, kindness, and emotional intelligence, and it’s become one of Google’s most popular development programs.

Bringing your attention and focus to the present is powerful stuff.  It may even help to explain why Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has gone from strength to strength and just passed USD$700 billion in market cap.

Search Inside Yourself is now taught outside Google to other organisations interested in developing professional performance, leadership skills and wellbeing.  The SIY Leadership Program is now available in Australia. Find out more. 

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