Saturday, June 1, 2013

Taming the Monkey Mind - Cultivating Focus and Co-operation!

Science is proving to us that it is possible to cultivate focus - and it's by using meditation techniques.
The benefits are more that I had thought too.

An article in Harvard Business Review Blog by Peter Bregman states:
"Research shows that an ability to resist urges will improve your relationships, increase your dependability, and raise your performance. If you can resist your urges, you can make better, more thoughtful decisions. You can be more intentional about what you say and how you say it. You can think about the outcome of your actions before following through on them."
And following through on actions is one great way to build trust and co-operation with those you interact with. It is something that  team players value in a leader or manager.

Focus is a dimension of personality that impacts life every day. On one end of the spectrum it can inhibit being successful or on the other get in the way of being sociable and flexible to opportunities in life as they arise.

In his research Richard Davidson uses the term attention and he considers what happens to it from two perspectives:

  1.  in the presence of life's emotional experiences (open non-judgmental awareness) 
  2. in the presence of normal sensory input (selective attention).

Focus or selective attention can be managed - one choses the right setting for them to work in for instance, selects the right amount of ambient noise, interruptions etc.

Open non-judgmental awareness is the ability to be receptive to what comes into your thoughts without getting sucked into it. Some buddhists call this shenpa - that hook of judgmental attachment.  Open non-judgmental attention can be cultivated by meditation.

How do you cultivate focus? Can you manage your emotions in the same way as sensory input? What about for your team?

Interesting thought!  If you want to do an experiment on your own focus/attention to test this information out I'd love you to share.

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