I don’t know the origin of this story. It was sent to me by Lee Stein. In a mother’s womb were two babies. One asked the other: “Do you believe in life after delivery?” The other replied, “Why, of course. There has to be something after delivery. Maybe we are here to prepare ourselves forContinue reading “A Story”
My blog frequently discusses attention and also embodiment. And these themes play an important role in Sharon Salzberg’s newest book, Real Love. I found this to be a particularly lovely and comforting read, filled with stories and sweet practices. 1. What prompted you to write a book on love? In your wildest dreams, what impactContinue reading “Sharon Salzberg Talks About Real Love”
At the Near Future Summit 2017, I organized and moderated a capsule on Cycles and Rhythms. After years of studying the psychophysiology of our relationship to technology (how our attention, emotions, and physiology (breathing, etc.) are impacted by the way we use technology today), I realized that, at a deeper level, this all relates toContinue reading “We’ve Got Rhythm”
Our lust for analytics sometimes divorces us from our humanity. We have “superpowers” that are mysterious and challenging to quantify, and, that are at the heart of who we are as human beings. Only with mutual respect for both the metrics and the mysteries will we thrive as a species. This is all top ofContinue reading “Thinking about Metrics”
A young woman was quite burned out after many years in a job to which she had given her heart and soul. A colleague described the work as, “Throwing toothpicks at dragons.” I began to mentor her as she stepped into her transition out of the job and into, she knew not what. SheContinue reading “What’s Interesting?”
Note from a Second Grader Between 1978-1986, I was a teacher and, later, a children’s librarian. I wrote the children notes and they wrote back to me. A devastating fire wiped out most everything in my apartment in January 2016. I’ve been working through smoky documents that were salvaged, and found notes from the childrenContinue reading “What Would You Do?”
I am at the airport, in conversation with a man who is deaf. He is speaking, and I’m struggling to understand his speech. I’m distracted. My flight will board soon, and I’ve injured my knee, so I’ll need extra time to board and don’t want to miss the announcement. He is telling me that heContinue reading “The Genius of Attention: Making Peace with Bossy Mind”
It’s believed that many of us spend seven hours or more in front of screens each day. In 2011, researcher Emmanuel Stamatakis, found that “…even those who exercise can’t overcome the detrimental effects of too much screen time,”
My friend, Julia Cross, a brilliant dancer, demonstrates how to get exercise in flight. What fitness program would make it possible for the rest of us?! Happy Holidays and safe travels!
Essential Self technologies rely on SENSORY input to connect us with our essential nature through the sensing and feeling self. These technologies are often passive, ambient, and non-invasive. They involve the use of light, vibration, sound, music, and temperature to support us in discovering and sustaining flow-like states and contributing to a sense of embodiment.
Ethan Zuckerman, who is wise, kind, and brilliant, posits that people have a preference for using the Internet for banal activities, like surfing for “cute cats.” It seems true that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and the like, are, indeed, rife with cute cats. I’m beginning to believe there is a deep explanation for that. I’mContinue reading “Cute Cats Redux”
This post was written several years ago. I’m feeling great these days and ready to post some of the things written in darker moments… From January 2010 I’m lying in bed and the right side of my body is frozen. I’m right-handed. I want to get up and the thought alone isn’t getting me there. Continue reading “What Part of You is Free?”
A few years ago, in a conversation with a friend, I caught myself paying more attention to another, nearby conversation. Realizing I was missing the moment to connect with this friend, I created a “game” for myself to counteract the distraction. Now, as much as possible, when I make a choice to be in conversationContinue reading “Falling in Love (How To)”
What if I told you that the way we are talking about attention is part of the problem today? Our conversation about distraction, multi-tasking, and the stern command to focus actually creates a level of stress, anxiety, and shame. Headlines read: Dangers of Digital Distraction! Taming the Distraction Monster! Time to Unplug! This conversation stressesContinue reading “Our Powerful and Fragile Attention”
http://ashow.zefrank.com/episodes/128 My friend’s 16 year old son stopped playing video games. Cold turkey. From hours a day in front of the screen one day to those same hours spent with friends ever after. “Why did you stop?” his mother asked. “Jelly Beans. My life in jelly beans.” Thanks to Ze Frank for creating this powerfulContinue reading “The Time We Have (in Jelly Beans)”
I started hosting dinner parties when I was 12. I enjoyed cooking and especially loved great conversation. Over the years, I started to notice that even with fourteen fascinating people at the table, sometimes the conversation was like fireworks and sometimes it fell flat. I wanted to figure out an algorithm for dinner party seating.Continue reading “Choreograph Lively Dinner Conversation”
Can we be productive in a world full of constant updates? Will we adapt or will we burn out? Linda Stone and William Powers at AIF 2011
“What are you tracking?” This is the conversation at Quantified Self (QS) meetups. The Quantified Self movement celebrates “self-knowledge through numbers.” In our current love affair with QS, we tend to focus on data and the mind. Technology helps manage and mediate that relationship. The body is in there somewhere, too, as a sort of “slave”Continue reading “The Essential Self: Health Beyond the Numbers”
Jim Fallows asked me to talk with him about the future of attention. I wanted to share the links for the short version that appeared in the magazine, and the longer version that appeared online. The short version, followed by a link: From the time we’re born, we’re learning and modeling a variety of attentionContinue reading “From the Atlantic: Interview with James Fallows”
Our conversation is about productivity with a focus on output and quantity. What if we shifted our conversation to one about engagement, with a focus on outcomes and quality?
Play researchers’ findings indicate that self-directed play, for both children and adults, nourishes the human spirit and helps develop resilience, independence, and resourcefulness. Yet, our desire to be efficient and productive, and our tendency to over-schedule and over-program, has crowded out opportunities for self-directed play in our education system and in our lives at home.Continue reading “A More Resilient Species”
“My mom should look at me when I talk to her. She always only looks at her iPhone! It makes me mad!” This was the response of a ten year old, when asked: “What rules would you make for your parents regarding the use of technology?” We’re quick to make rules for kids when itContinue reading “If Kids Made the Rules…”
Our focus has been on technologies as prosthetics for the mind, and human-as-machine style productivity. This has led to burn-out, poor health, poor sleep, and what I call email apnea or screen apnea. We wonder where our attention has gone. Turns out, it’s right where we left it — with our ability to breathe fully. What if technology became a prosthetic for our beings?
Chris Anderson’s April 7, Google+ post describes the quantified self lifestyle: Philips DirectLife, Nike Fuelband, Polar FA20 Activity monitor watch, a Withings scale, a Zeo, and Runkeeer on the iPhone. Chris’ wife has a FitBit, Zeo, and Runkeeper. The kids wear Zamzees. To say that movement is tracked is an understatement. But where doesContinue reading “Quantified Self: Can We Measure What Really Matters?”
Watching Cameron Carpenter play the organ is a transcendant experience. It’s as if he’s “lit.” The organ just sits there, and Carpenter’s body exudes a powerful energy. Most of us, when we interact with digital technologies, “merge” our energies with the device, exhausting ourselves. Experienced musicians don’t do this. In the evolution of our relationship with digital devices, we have a lot to learn from experienced musicians.
“Point of view is worth 80 IQ points,” is a constant guiding consideration for me. It comes to mind when I convene groups or organize advisory boards for companies: Is there a diverse mix of thinkers, personalities, and expertise represented? It’s on my mind when I organize dinner parties. In the years I spent working at Apple and Microsoft, it was on my mind when I made hiring decisions and assembled teams to work on any type of project.
For many of us, our evolving relationship with technology in a 24/7, mobile, always-connected world, traps us in a hyper-focus on the screen, and a blindness to the rich world around us.
Our relationships with our SmartPhones, and this wicked habit that many of us, of walking or driving while texting or talking, hold us in a state of perpetual inattentional blindness.
Everything we know, our strongly held beliefs, and, in some cases, even what we consider to be “factual,” creates the lens through which we see and experience the world, and can contribute to a critical, reactive orientation. This can serve us well: Fire is hot; it can burn if touched. It can also compromise our ability to observe and to think in an expansive, generative way.