Observe your thoughts like water rushing over a waterfall

Observe your thoughts like water rushing over a waterfall. Watch them as they splash in the river below and flow downstream.

—Calm App Reflection

Image from Unsplash by Jeffery Workman

What is your average attention span? How many minutes or even seconds can you maintain your ability to concentrate and remain focused on a specific activity or train of thought?

When was the last time you saw a waterfall? Beyond the water cascading over the edge, how often did you follow it long enough to see the splash below? For many of us, our focus stops there, and our attention reverts back to where the action is.


How often do you find yourself distracted and pulled away from people and things that require prolonged attention and focus?

How can you exercise and practice extending your attention to build and strengthen your mental muscles?

What’s the least I can teach that will be the most useful

“What’s the least I can teach that will be the most useful?”

Michael Bungay Stainer, author of The Coaching Habit

Image from Unsplash by Kenny Eliason

My first career after graduating college was as a science teacher. My second career was as a pharmaceutical representative working with physicians and other medical professionals.

For the past thirty-two years, I’ve worked as a business and personal coach supporting individuals and organizations to reach higher and achieve more, personally and professionally. I suppose in many ways I’ve always been a teacher.

These days I am still a coach and teacher to my adult children and more recently as Pop-Pop to our two precocious and rambunctious grandchildren. Today’s quote is especially relevant for these little ones with their often limited attention spans.


Where in your life do you play the role of a teacher?

How would focusing on quality versus quantity in your wisdom sharing efforts make the biggest difference with the people you serve and support?

Where is it time to zoom in on the details or zoom out on the big picture

Where is it time to zoom in on the details or zoom out on the big picture? What type of focus is required in your current situation?

—Calm App Reflection

Image from Unsplash by Aaron Burden

Last month, many of us in the United States had the opportunity to see the solar eclipse. A family we know traveled 1500 miles from their home to see this event in San Antonio with their two young boys.

Road trips like these are an integral part of their home-schooling efforts and they took plenty of side trips along the way to zoom in and out to capture many other sights and wonders.


Where and how would your life improve with greater focus on more of the details of your world?

How might zooming out to a bigger, broader view of things offer you greater perspective and insight about the world?

Bring yourself to this moment and experience it fully. Where attention goes, energy flows

Bring yourself to this moment and experience it fully. Where attention goes, energy flows.

—Calm App Reflection

Image from Unsplash by Shantung Kulkarni

During a recent holiday gathering I went out of my way to be a more focused observer of everyone in attendance.

Of particular note were the four children ages 2, 5, 7 and 10. Throughout our time together, it was interesting to see how present the kids were versus many of the adults.

With football games in the background and many cell phones in hand, it was obvious that many of the grown-ups could have benefited from some kid coaching.


Where are you most focused and attentive in your life?

How energetic do these experiences feel compared to when you are pulled away by competing distractions?

“Just keep swimming.”

“Just keep swimming.”

Dory, in Finding Nemo

Image from Unsplash by Tyler Nix

I recently watch the Netflix series Live to 100: Secrets of the Blue Zones. During his exploration, author Dan Buettner travels around the world to places such as Okinawa, Sardinia, Singapore, the Greek islands, and even places in the U.S. to discover the secrets of a long and vibrant life.

Among the variety of strategies for living longer, healthier lives is a focus on movement. Unlike many western societies where lifestyles can be fairly sedentary, it is pleasing to see the simple practices of physical daily chores and walking comprise a majority component of their fitness endeavors.


Where and how can and do your incorporate movement into your days?

How might a few more laps, a bike ride, walking with friends, or taking the stairs add a few more years to your life and life to your years?

Heart in the oven head in the fridge

“Heart in the oven, head in the fridge.”

Sports advice

Image from Unsplash by Brandon Mowinkel

Over the past month, I’ve been watching the baseball playoffs on TV.  When I came upon today’s quote, it seemed to fit perfectly with what I was observing.

These days, sporting events are captured with a wide array of cameras that bring us into the game like never before.  Beyond the novel base cam used to watch players sliding into second, the view of the players — especially the pitchers and batters — is even better than the umpires.

In these high stake’s events, it is amazing to see these athletes passionately gear up for their performances and keep a cool head to remain focused and centered.


What personal and professional activities stir your heart and heat things up?

How do you keep your cool and remain focused in your efforts?

“It’s break time for your problem-solving mind.”

“It’s break time for your problem-solving mind.”

Jeff Warren, author of The Head Trip: Adventures on the Wheel of Consciousness

Image from Amazon

When do you have the most focus and ability to concentrate in a typical day? What duration of time is optimal before you begin losing this edge? How often do you press on beyond this noticeable decline in effectiveness?

In much the same way our bodies need to rest, renew, and recharge from physical exertion, our minds need periodic breaks to do the same.

Reading is a good example. How long is it before you start rereading the same sentence or need to go back a paragraph or two to comprehend and grasp various types of material?

One strategy that can be helpful is to switch between physical and mental activities to give the other capacity a break. At times when you are using both a total break may be the solution you’re looking for.


Do a google search on various productivity hacks. The Pomodoro Technique and the 20-Minute Rule are two approaches for your consideration.

Your mind is like a bookshelf

Your mind is like a bookshelf. You can browse the titles without opening them all.

—Calm App Reflection

Image from Unsplash by Patel Czerwinski

What’s on your mind these days?

How many open tabs, apps, and pages have some or most of your attention? How does jumping from one thing to another at the speed of thought make you feel?

When was the last time you visited an actual book store or library? What was it like to browse through the shelves at a leisurely pace?

How many books did you select and actually open to see if the contents were worth a longer look?


How would patiently browsing through the bookshelf of your mind help you be far more discerning with what you let into the library of your life?

Focus on the shot you are about to take

Focus on the shot you are about to take. The game isn’t over till it’s over.

—Calm App Reflection

My five-year-old grandson’s favorite board game is the Hershey edition of Monopoly Junior. Through his play, he is learning numerous life skills as he moves his favorite chocolate bar character around the board. He particularly enjoys rolling the dice, buying properties, passing Go to collect $2, and landing on Chance spaces to see what they reveal.

With each roll of the dice, he sees opportunities to better his chances of winning. When he is a bit behind, he often prefers the other players let him roll again and again. We are still working on good sportsmanship and taking turns.


What games are you currently playing in your personal and professional worlds?

Where are you falling behind and becoming discouraged?

How would greater focus on your next shot — and the next — turn things around?

It’s hard to build momentum if you are divided in your attention

“It’s hard to build momentum if you are divided in your attention.”

James Clear, author of Atomic Habits

Image from Unsplash by Nubelson Fernandes

Most people are familiar with the phrase “United we stand, divided we fall.” As we nod in agreement, our thoughts often lean toward communities or teams that need to pull together to achieve a worthy goal.

These days, our attention may also include numerous global issues that require a united front.

Today’s quote offers a shift from the macro to the micro.

It points us inward to our individual worlds and frequent forays in multiple directions that often get us nowhere.


Where do you find your attention divided in your personal or professional efforts?

How and where would a more focused approach generate the momentum you need to achieve what you most desire?