The Power of Attention
Published: Jan 18, 2007
The more you do and the busier you become, the less able you are to focus on the moment and what is right in front of you. The conscious mind can only hold one thought or feeling at a time. Therefore, because of how the mind works, multitasking is really the process of shifting your attention between two or more things. In this way, you become a human doing. Society perpetuates the myth that the more you get done, the more coveted you are. This is an illusion and only serves to move you away from your essence as you do more and be less. Many people don’t even take vacations and when they are off from work, they jam pack the time with other things to do. Having never been taught how to be a human being, they don’t know how to do nothing and simply be.
Our society has perpetuated this lifestyle as worthy and noble, and praise is given to those who can “do it all.” You can do a lot over the course of your lifetime; you just cannot do it all in one moment. Living your life cluttered with doing is not living; it’s a life of getting things done. Missing is the meaning. Missing is the experience of the doing, the enjoyment of doing whatever it is you’re doing in the moment. Seems strange to say that and yet gratitude and presence helps to put things in perspective.
When you are busy with lots of things going on all at once, your body taps its own energy resource and releases adrenaline into the bloodstream. This natural drug helps you to think clearly and act quickly. This is the reason people can say they work better under pressure. It’s true to an extent; we all work well under pressure due to Nature’s little helper. Because of this, you want more. You access this resource to help you get through every day and over time, you become addicted. You may wonder why you crash at the end of the day but because you’re getting so much accomplished, you don’t think much of it. It becomes a way of life but not without a cost. It becomes difficult for you to relax. You become irritable and stressed. You might develop insomnia, anxiety, or depression. The adrenaline lifestyle does not make it easy for relationships to flourish. It also damages your blood vessels and is the main cause for heart disease and stroke.
Coaching Tip: Slow down and be present to what you are doing in this very moment. Breathe when you feel yourself revving up. If you find yourself trying to do several things at once, ask yourself what the priority is and choose that one thing to focus your attention on. Once complete, you can choose the next priority. The goal is to focus your doing on those things that are aligned with your vision for success and you must say no to everything else. You’ll know you’re doing it right when you find yourself saying no to lots of things and creating space which brings you to a place close to boredom. This is a good place to be. It means you are ready to learn how to “be”. After all, life is not just a to-do list. And you are not a human doing.
Being present is often called mindfulness. Others call it being awake or meditating. It means that you are completely attentive to what you are doing in the moment. Why is this important? Because when you are not present you miss the moment. When you are attempting to do more in the moment than is possible-and because we know that the conscious mind only handles one thing at a time-you miss one of those things. For example, your child is speaking to you while you are doing the dishes. Are you listening? Or is your attention focused on making sure the dishes are clean? Or are you thinking about something else entirely, like “who left the dishes in the sink?” and “What’s for dinner?”
The mind has a way of running amok. It likes to keep moving. It has difficulty staying focused in the moment. It wanders. The good news is that your mind does not control you unless you let it. You are not your mind. Your mind is a tool you’ve been given to help you navigate this world. It may have learned to take charge; now you need to learn to take charge of your mind.
Coaching Tip: In order to stay present and be with what is requires attention and practice. Practice being attentive and fully present for each conversation. Focus your attention when people are speaking; this means no longer doing anything other than simply listening. When your mind wanders, pull it back to the moment. Over time as you learn how to immerse yourself in the present, you will create a richer life experience. And as you enjoy the moments of your life simply because you are more awake for them, you become less stressed, less overwhelmed, and more peaceful, more content. Your life becomes more meaningful and enjoyable as you capture the power of your attention.
Julie Fuimano, MBA, RN is an Executive Coach with Nurturing Your Success Inc. She is passionate about partnering with people as they take the challenging journey to a new level of success. Clients report making better decisions, having more time for themselves, being able to say no to requests outside of their responsibilities and desires, being better able to manage emotions as well as conflicts, and an overall feeling of power and confidence. If you are discontent or frustrated with something in your life and are ready to give up the struggle for something better, or if you have a vision for success and want the courage and focus to make it happen, then contact Julie at (610) 277-2726 or write to Julie@NurturingYourSuccess.com to explore how coaching would work for you. If not now, when? Fuimano is a popular motivational speaker, world-renowned writer, and author of the life manual and confidence builder, The Journey Called YOU: A Roadmap to Self-Discovery and Acceptance –available wherever books are sold. Sign up for her inspiring e-newsletter at www.NurturingYourSuccess.com.