Of all things we practice, our minds should be what we sharpen the most. Where many achievements require money or strength of body, strength of mind grants you more opportunity. Focus, simplicity, conciseness, attitude, respect—all are outcomes of a mind like water where your attention is adequate in the moment and your response is equal to the force.
Our minds often wander. This can lead to great discoveries about ourselves and is a time to process what’s in our heads. We need to put ourselves into moments where we can be bored so that our minds can explore and think. But we also need to be mindful of when concentration is the tool we need.
Maria Konnikova, in a piece for the New York Times,
When we are mindful, some of that attentional flightiness disappears as if of its own accord.
Attention is finite but we control our attention, with practice. It takes a lot of work, self control, and willingness to become better at it but wrangling yourself so your mind can be sharp and in the moment is a skill that is better employed than a deep working knowledge of software or systems.
That’s the thing about mindfulness. It seems to slow you down, but it actually gives you the resources you need to speed up your thinking.
Quicker thinking means getting things done faster. I don’t encourage rushing through it—mindfulness is the exact opposite. Using tools that let you work quicker, doesn’t necessarily mean the work is sloppier or done with less attention or finesse. It’s the same with the mind; you’ll move through thoughts quicker. It takes practice to get better and sitting meditation helps. I’ve learned a lot from Patrick Rhone and Leo Babauta who both think and write about these ideas.
If you’re looking at ways to be better as we flip the calendar, along side your tools and methods, focus your mind on concentration and you will gain a great power of potential over the things you do.