What Neuroscience Can Teach Leaders 2

Attention: What You Pay Attention to Matters

1. You can choose what happens in your head when you are not thinking about anything in particular by choosing to be mindful instead of simply letting your mind wander in what is known as the “default network”.  Mindfullness is defined as:

a)    Self regulating attention so that it is maintained on immediate experience thereby allowing for increased recognition of mental events in the present moment

b)    Adopting a particular orientation toward one’s experiences in the present moment, an orientation that is characterized by curiosity, openness, and acceptance (Bishop et al).

By practicing mindfulness you can choose to pay attention to sensory information coming in. What you pay attention to is what you are conscious of (Rock)(Berman).

2. What you choose to pay attention to can dictate the quality of your mood, your quality of life and the quality of life of people around you.  Pay attention to the past and you will end up ruminating uselessly, whereas when you stay focused on the present, you get useful information about what is going on with your own thoughts and feelings (Tang et al) (Hassed).

 3.  One of your key jobs as a leader is to continually remind your people of what to pay attention to (Hassed).

Image by Carlos Porto

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