What You Can Learn About High Performance From A Junior High School Teacher

Dave Brodkey teaches shop class to sixth to eighth graders at New Brighton Middle School near Santa Cruz, CA. Eleven and twelve year olds are typically not known for their sustained attention at school so when Brodkey told me his students consistently get into a state of flow — or what he calls the “quality zone” — in his classes, I had to learn more. Indeed, it turns out he’s intuitively and brilliantly incorporated all the key components that encourage flow states. […]

Five Words For Laser Focus At Work

Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there was a kingdom where the people would go to their office every morning and there, they would begin one, single task, and merrily continue doing it until they finished — without interruption or distraction — before starting the next one. Ha, that’s definitely a fairy tale. Here, in the real world of mostly nonlinear work, a typical day at the office more likely entails constant switching between a myriad of […]

Mental Toughness for the “New Normal”

Do you ever catch yourself thinking that maybe all of this – this pace of relentless change and uncertainty – is really just temporary? That we simply have to ride it out and, eventually, we’ll go back to the way it used to be. You know, pre-9/11, before the financial meltdown, without the weekly slew of disasters, natural and man-made. Well, enjoy the fantasy because this is the new normal. “The pace of change in our world is speeding up,” […]

Five Strategies for Staying Mindful on “Social”

Ever noticed how dogs behave when they’re taken for a walk — easily distracted, stopping to sniff and/or chase everything along the way, the smellier the better? That’s our minds on social media. As I mentioned in my previous post, Are You Missing Out?, there’s no question that social media has created exciting opportunities for us to connect, stay informed and build community. At the same time, it’s being integrated into our lives so insidiously seamlessly that most of us haven’t […]

Three Ways To Killer Focus (No Mafia Required)

Have you seen the movie Limitless? Bradley Cooper plays struggling author Eddie Morra, who is suffering from serious writer’s block. His life dramatically changes when he runs into his former brother-in-law, who introduces him to NZT, a revolutionary new drug that allows him to instantly focus and tap into his full potential. Voila! He cleans up years of clutter in his apartment, starts working out, finishes his book in four days, learns to speak Italian and Chinese, outsmarts the stock […]

The Myth of Multi-Tasking

There’s a video making the Internet rounds of a public bus ramming into the back of an SUV stopped in rush hour traffic. It’s filmed from the point of view of the bus driver – well, if the driver had been watching the road instead of texting on his phone, as revealed by the surveillance camera installed inside the bus. No question, it’s difficult to resist the siren call of multi-tasking: “Do three things at once, get three times as […]