The Strategist

Concentration: The first step to success

12/09/2016 - 14:32

Psychiatrist and world-renowned expert on ADD (attention deficit syndrome) Edward Hallowell says that ability to concentrate is key to success. In his book "Driven to Distraction at Work" he tells about how to learn to control attention, to see life deeply, understand more and work wisely.

Symptoms of attention deficit come unnoticed at first. Usually people start to become irritated over trifles, cease to love their jobs and began to tire easily. Not aware of that life circumstances changed, they do not retreat, but take more responsibility instead. They grasp everything on a single flash and never complain even if the workload is transformed into a monster, whom the person is no longer able to fight. To illustrate this grim situation, we can recall story of a frog. If it is thrown into a cauldron of boiling water, it will immediately jump out of it. However, If the container filled with cold water at first, then the frog will not notice nearing death until it’s too late.

For most of us, the fire under the boiler has been lit a long time ago, but we still play heroes and do not notice that we need help.

We pay for loss of attention not only with productivity of labor, but also with a large monetary loss. A study published in the Journal Inc. in 2006 found that losses due to distraction were valued at 282 billion dollars per year in the US alone. The authors found that an average employee spends about two hours of the eight working day actually idle. He aimlessly moves from one website to another during 52% of that time. According to the study’s results, overall cost of doing nothing amounted to 544 billion dollars, and 52% of them are precisely 282 billion.

Fortunately, attention and ability to concentrate are amenable to training thanks to neuroplasticity of the brain. Neuroplasticity is ability of an adult brain to steadily change its structure or function. What does it mean? We can create a special training course for our attention, and to pump it like a muscle. Already, scientists say that a person can completely reprogram himself up to a full emotional reboot. Scientists still cannot say exactly what limits of neuroplasticity are. One thing is certain: regular practice can change everything.

Emotional restart

People work sixteen hours a day to make money for those they love. Emotions motivate us better than anything else. Emotions related to work are one of the most powerful factors influencing our productivity after graduation.

Do yourself a favor: instead of calling on yourself to work harder and remember about corporate culture, better put yourself in a position where you will diligently work without any reminders. Then you will love what you do.

Today, it is critical to be able to control your mind, possess common sense, protect and develop it according to your own desires, and not with other people's whims, to be able to resist useless but seductive information, useless ideas and idle chatter. Ability to not only create new ideas, but bring them to real incarnation gives us a key to manage life without letting it control you. With this, you will be able to achieve much more than you think, because never before the world offered so many possibilities. Be creative. Do not let your ideas melt like snowflakes on a hot pavement. Catch them, keep and nourish them to grow and develop. 

Based on Driven to Distraction at Work: How to Focus and Be More Productive by Edward M. Hallowell

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