About attention and happiness!

  • 3 min read

Happy New Year! May you always be able to re-create yourself to a better self! How many of those resolutions have you fulfilled? I’m a non-resolver, as a project manager, I set goals, with timelines and measures of success! This is not about that though. It's about attention and happiness. This is about a book that I’ve read recently - Deep Work by Cal Newport.

According to Gallup, the majority of people at work are not engaged the majority of the time. According to Gallup research, more than 10 million people worldwide have been surveyed on the topic of employee engagement, of which only one third agree with the phrase: “At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day” (Rath, 2009, pp. ii - iv)

Ranveer Allahbadia asked the guru Dandapani what is the most important thing in life, the guru said first is spirituality, and the second would be the focus. He says we are not taught how to concentrate and without focus how do you achieve in life.

Interestingly, conversations become deep conversations, when we focus, with all our awareness. It is the most enjoyable moment when you finish a complex task in lesser time being in this state of flow, where you’re engrossed completely in the task at hand.

Nir Eyal says - “Distraction is a curse of modern life. Between our cell phones and computer screens, not to mention our kids and coworkers, our attention is constantly being diverted. It can become difficult to focus on any one task—or any one person—for very long.”

In this book, Deep Work, Cal Newport says -

Deep Work: Professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate. Deep work is necessary to every last drop of value out of your current intellectual capacity.

There are several approaches Cal has suggested in the book. Thankfully he too believes in 'not one size fits all' Hence you can suit yourself. The approaches like - shutting yourself off completely, for example by moving to a cabin in the woods to write a novel, and not coming back until it’s finished (!)

Prioritizing deep work above everything else. You could set a 4-6 hour block each day for deep work, for example, where you lock yourself in your office/home office, and then get back to your day (!)

I've seen focus changes everything, the solution you're looking at, everything you put your focus on becomes more meaningful (!) Hence there is a connection between attention and happiness. The more you're able to focus, the happier you become.

The science writer Winifred Gallagher stumbled onto a connection between attention and happiness after an unexpected and terrifying event Gallagher set out to better understand the role that attention - Life fingers pointing to the moon, other diverse disciplines from anthropology to education, behavioral economics to family counseling, similarly suggest that the skillful management of attention is the sine qua non (an essential condition) of the good life and the key to improving virtually every aspect of your experience.

The other approach Cal talks about is shutting down your mind before you go to sleep, it's like putting everything on the paper for tomorrow so that the body and mind can be put to deep sleep.

And now the best part - Be Lazy

Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence, or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of to we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets...it is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.

Thank you! Cal Newport for this lovely, insightful book

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Practitioner| Adventurer| Believer
A practitioner of joy and carpe diem A journaling writing coach. Connector. Co author of an anthology. Speaker. Self proclaimed podcaster of People Tribe. A management professional who is a believe…
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