Productivity Arata! I am Seiiti Arata, and this is the third video in our series. We started with comments on the book from Daniel Goleman, and today you will learn an unusual technique to increase your focus.
In this series we have seen how important it is to make informed choices about where to focus our attention. We also understand that we have to respect our limits. It is important to focus on recharging our energy.
If you have already enrolled in the FOCUS course, then you may have noticed how to increase your focus with smarter choices. Today we will discuss an unusual technique called “Making the invisible palpable”. This is a summary from the book by Daniel Goleman in chapter 13:
If our emotional circuitry (especially the amygdala, the trigger for the fight or flight reactions) perceives an immediate threat, it will flood us with hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, which prepare us for fight or flight.
But that does not happen in the case of potential dangers that are years or centuries ahead. In these cases, the amygdala does not react.
The amygdala circuitry is concentrated in the midbrain, and it warns us about immediate dangers that need our urgent attention.
What does Daniel Goleman mean by that?
He is saying that our amygdala deals with immediate, urgent problems. That’s how it happened in the evolutionary selection process.
Unfortunately, we do not have a very good brain for planning future events, even when they are important plans. If they are far away, it’s all abstract; it’s difficult to predict and identify causal relationships. “If I do this, such a thing happens. If I fail to do that, then this thing will no longer happen.” This is not very obvious. It is not natural to be thinking like a computer that simulates the risks and possibilities of the future.
That is why today the most advanced computers can defeat the world’s chess champions. The computer has the capability to perform millions of calculations per second on all possible variables and to calculate the probabilities.
Despite not having the computing power that considers millions of variables, the human brain still has something unique: our creativity.
And it is creativity that allows us to apply this unusual technique to increase our focus: We can use our creativity to imagine a future event happening now.
Imagine an abstract future event becoming an immediate threat. This is how we will enable the brain to stay fully alert, fully focused and ready to do what has to be done.
Let me give an example. Imagine that I am studying for an important exam, but it’s hard to concentrate. The exam will only happen two months from now. In other words, my brain finds it difficult to make the exam tangible, to find what is palpable in this situation. Everything is abstract. The exam is far in the future; why bother? I have a thousand little things to do in the meantime—I have to sweep the floor of the house, I have to check my mail, have to pay the electric bill, I have to prepare dinner … I have many immediate and tangible situations that will steal my focus. It’s easier to do these first. It’s rewarding; it’s more inviting to devote attention to these little things just because they’re more visible, more tangible.
Since I know the result of this exam will have an influence on my future, I will now use my full attention (see video How to Increase Attention and Focus). I will use my full attention and creativity to imagine the consequences of a bad performance in the exam. I imagine all the details—what consequences there may be in my bank account throughout my life. The way I will feel if I fail the exam. The way my family will feel about my failure.
Understand? I’m making the invisible palpable. My difficulty focusing was because of lack of clarity, and now I solved this problem.
There are many reasons for lack of focus. In our course we even have a class on that. And I say this because I know many people who look at today’s video will say, “Seiiti, but in my case I already understand the importance of achieving that desired goal. But nonetheless I still suffer from distractions and lack of focus!”
In this case I invite you to watch our FOCUS course by going to this link.
When you visit this link, you will find a form where you can enter your email address. I will send you a gift ebook and also show you what we have in the course area that will solve every lack of focus. See you there!