I have been reading a new book by Daniel Goleman called Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence. Goleman is an expert on emotional intelligence and wrote a number of books on soft skills, which you may have come across. It really made me think. We are so immersed in the world of technology, our smart phones are our new companions being by our side nearly 24/7, and I even have a new PA called Siri, courtesy of Apple.
It is not uncommon to see people in cafés and restaurants on their smart devices rather than talking to each other. They spend time together but not really together. It is this lonely togetherness. How many of you think about other things while sitting in a meeting that is going on for more than 15min? Like what to cook for dinner (that is me, planning my life from one meal to another :-)) or wondering if the important email you are awaiting has finally arrived, tempted to check your phone. We have lost this ability to focus on what is in front of us and be present in the moment.
According to Goleman, there has been a number of studies done on the correlation between the ability to focus and success and guess what. Yes, if you can focus you have a much higher chance succeeding in life as well. People develop much better relationships as well. I’m sure that all of us can remember at least one moment when our boss, colleague, or a partner was giving us their undivided attention. It felt good, didn’t it?
What is quite scary is that the young generation is now growing up with all the gadgets and they socialise and interact with others less. Goleman mentions in his new book that there are schools now that have included in their curriculum some form of meditation. Yes, that is actually one of the tools that can help us to improve our focusing abilities. It could be as simple as just counting breaths – in and out.
Goleman also says that being able to master our focus is the key to a fulfilling life. He says that too often we thing about doing something else or being somewhere else and forget to actually enjoy the present moment – where we are and what’s going on. So, I am setting myself a challenge. Next week, I will pay 100% attention to what I am doing and will give 100% attention to every person that I speak to. Let’s see how fulfilled I will feel!
Anyone fancy joining me?