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Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence Kindle Edition
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In Focus, Psychologist and journalist Daniel Goleman, author of the #1 international bestseller Emotional Intelligence, offers a groundbreaking look at today’s scarcest resource and the secret to high performance and fulfillment: attention.
Combining cutting-edge research with practical findings, Focus delves into the science of attention in all its varieties, presenting a long overdue discussion of this little-noticed and under-rated mental asset. In an era of unstoppable distractions, Goleman persuasively argues that now more than ever we must learn to sharpen focus if we are to survive in a complex world.
Goleman boils down attention research into a threesome: inner, other, and outer focus. Drawing on rich case studies from fields as diverse as competitive sports, education, the arts, and business, he shows why high-achievers need all three kinds of focus, and explains how those who rely on Smart Practices—mindfulness meditation, focused preparation and recovery, positive emotions and connections, and mental “prosthetics” that help them improve habits, add new skills, and sustain greatness—excel while others do not.
"A lively personalized account of the science of attention, which 'ripples through most everything we seek to accomplish.'"-- "Kirkus Reviews" --This text refers to the audioCD edition.
About the Author
Daniel Goleman, a former science journalist for the New York Times, is the author of thirteen books and lectures frequently to professional groups and business audiences and on college campuses. He cofounded the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning at the Yale University Child Studies Center (now at the University of Illinois, at Chicago).--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
- ASIN : B00BATG220
- Publisher : Harper; Illustrated edition (October 8, 2013)
- Publication date : October 8, 2013
- Language : English
- File size : 829 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 325 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #155,242 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
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It was author, Daniel Goleman, who popularised the notion of emotional intelligence. “My goal here,” he writes, “is to spotlight this elusive and under-appreciated mental faculty in the mind’s operations and its role in living a fulfilling life.”
To enjoy a “fulfilling life,” requires a three-part focusing ability: inner, other, and outer focus. Much like a muscle, focus improves as we deliberately use it more and weakens without conscious use.
“Inner focus” makes us aware of our intuitions, our guiding values, and assists in making better decisions. “Other focus” aids in our interpersonal relations. “Outer focus” is necessary for navigating our way in the larger world in which we operate.
It is not that we are paying less attention these days; it is that the attention we pay is decidedly different.
Goleman observed a mother and her daughter on a ferry to an island vacation. “The little girl’s head came only up to her mother’s waist as she hugged her mom and held on fiercely… The mother, though, didn’t respond to her, or even seem to notice: she was absorbed in her iPad all the while.”
The mother’s indifference is a symptom of how technology captures our attention and interferes with our connection.
An eighth-grade teacher told Goleman that she has observed a decline in her pupil’s ability to read. “She wonders if perhaps her students’ ability to read has been somehow compromised by the short, choppy messages they get in texts.”
The distracting effects of technology has led to a number of companies in Silicon Valley (the home of technology!) to ban laptops, mobile phones, and other digital tools during meetings.
An executive coach, Tony Schwartz, who helps leaders manage their energy, told Goleman, “We get people to become more aware of how they use attention— which is always poorly. Attention is now the number-one issue on the minds of our clients.”
Decades ago, Nobel-winning economist Herbert Simon presciently warned of the implications of the coming information-rich world. He warned, “A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.”
There are two main types of distractions: sensory and emotional. The sensory distractors are easier to deal with, the more daunting distractions are the emotionally loaded issues. Such thoughts intrude in for a good reason: to have us think through what to do about what is upsetting us.
Too often, the intrusions are unresolved and so the distressing thoughts recur in the same loop of worry.
Focus, or attention, works at many levels. “What’s trending now” is a signal of how we are allotting our collective attention. Workplace surveys show where employees are spending most of their attention. Large numbers are daydreaming, wasting hours cruising the Web or YouTube, and doing the bare minimum required.
“To get the disengaged workers any nearer the focused range demands upping their motivation and enthusiasm, evoking a sense of purpose, and adding a dollop of pressure,’ Goleman suggests.
Life today is enmeshed in the digital distractions that create a near-constant cognitive overload. Overload wears out our self-control. Lost in the digital world we forget our resolve to diet and mindlessly reach for the Pringles, or forget the names of people we know well.
It is easy to assume that attention needs be in the service of solving problems or achieving goals. However, our best ideas often come from the mind’s tendency to drift. Focused, goal-driven attention does not have more value than open, spontaneous awareness. Our minds will wander towards our current personal concerns and unresolved business, matters that do require our attention.
At the corporate level “Directing attention toward where it needs to go is a primal task of leadership,” Goleman asserts.
The leader’s task is to capture and direct the collective attention of staff. This requires, firstly that leaders focus their own attention, and only then attract and direct the attention from others. The requirement for the leader to have clarity of focus is largely because the attention of staff is guided by what leaders attend to – whether they explicitly articulate it or not.
Organizations, as with individuals, have a limited capacity for attention. Organizations have to choose where to allocate attention, what they will focus on, and what they will ignore.
“Signs of what might be called organizational “attention deficit disorder” include making flawed decisions because of missing data, no time for reflection, trouble getting attention in the marketplace, and inability to focus when and where it matters,” Goleman observes.
In order to focus an organization, the leader must simplify the complexity. This is never a simple matter. Steve Jobs’s dictum that Apple products should allow a user to do anything in three clicks or fewer, demanded a deep understanding of the function of the commands and buttons being given up, and finding elegant alternatives.
Focus at the strategic level is no different. It too demands a deep understanding of what can be overlooked and of the alternatives.
This issue of individual ability to focus and well as our corporate ability to focus is too urgent to ignore. This book is a excellent place to start.
Readability Light ---+- Serious
Insights High +_--- Low
Practical High --+-- Low
Ian Mann of Gateways consults internationally on leadership and strategy
This supple tool embeds within countless mental operations. A short list of some basics includes comprehension, memory, learning, sensing how we feel and why, reading emotions in other people and interacting smoothly. Surfacing this invisible factor in effectiveness lets us better see the benefits of improving this mental faculty, and better understand just how to do that.
Through an optical illusion of the mind we typically register the end products of attention—our ideas good and bad, a telling wink or inviting smile, the whiff of morning coffee—without noticing the beam of awareness itself.
Though it matters enormously for how we navigate life, attention in all its varieties represents a little-noticed and underrated mental asset. My goal here is to spotlight this elusive and underappreciated mental faculty in the mind’s operations and its role in living a fulfilling life.”
~ Daniel Goleman from Focus
Daniel Goleman is a former New York Times science writer and author of the uber-bestselling book Emotional Intelligence.
In Focus, we look at the underlying neuroscience of attention.
We need to start by realizing that the strength (or weakness) of our attention is at the core of E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. we do.
Which is why Goleman calls it “the hidden driver of excellence.”
(It’s also why protecting and cultivating Emerson’s attention is one of the absolute top priorities Alexandra and I have as we seek to bring forth (aka parent) the best within him.)
The good news is that our focus is like a muscle—although if we use it poorly it will wither, if we work it out wisely it gets stronger. Goleman walks us through the neuroscience of the various facets of our focus. I’m going to focus on practical stuff we can apply TODAY.
I'm excited to share some of my favorite Big Ideas:
1. Yoda Says - Your focus is your reality.
2. Fruitless Rumination - vs. Productive reflection.
3. Resting - Your mental muscle.
4. Willpower - It's 3 types of focus.
5. Smart Practice - T0 reach your Peak.
Let's optimize our ability to focus and then widen our lens so we can serve as profoundly as we possibly can!.
More goodness— including PhilosophersNotes on 300+ books in our *OPTIMIZE* membership program. Find out more at brianjohnson . me.