5 Things you can do to ensure you are fully present

This is something that is on my mind today and at times it is something I struggle with as well.  How can we be more present?  Fully present with our minds, attention, body language, eye contact, etc. when we are with other people? According to Wikipedia here is a link on some of the research and studies that have been conducted in the area of attention span:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attention_span

According to a study conducted by Microsoft, we as humans have lost our ability to focus on something by 4 seconds in last 15 years.  Here is a link to that study: http://www.cnet.com/news/goldfish-the-actual-fish-not-the-crackers-may-have-a-better-attention-span-than-humans/

So that is the data and the facts, so what do we do about it?

Here is what I say:

Actually Care:  Yep, it’s not much more difficult than that.  Care enough to give the person you are talking to your full attention.

Put down the damn smartphone: You are addicted to your phone.  Turn it off or put it away.

Ignore it: If you are so addicted to your phone you can’t put the damn thing down, at least ignore as your text messages and emails are rolling in if you are talking to someone.

Respect: “But some people are boring!”  Yep, I know they are.  In some cases they know they are.  Regardless if they are boring or not, let’s be human and show them the same respect that we would want ourselves.

Multi-tasking is BS:  If I am told one more time that “I am a multi-tasker and I am listening to you and sending a text.”  Let me pontificate on this a little more for the sake of argument here.  There have many studies conducted in the area of multi-tasking and the ability of someone to do this effectively.  IT IS IMPOSSIBLE!  There is no way your mind/brain can focus on two things at once.  You are either paying attention or you are doing something else, PERIOD.  The proper term in the area of multi-tasking is actually called “switching”.  Which means you are switching from one task to the other, which in most of the research it states that you are less productive when you are switching.

So to sum it all up.  When you are with other people, be fully present.  It really goes back to the golden rule, “treat others how you would like to be treated.”

To your success and your future.

The old man at the coffee shop

I have purchased my morning coffee at the same place for the last 10 years, with very few exceptions. Yep, same place, and the same order.  I know everyone here and they all know me.

For the last two years, I have worked out of the coffee shop every morning for the first two hours of the day.  They open up at 6 and I try to be in there at that time and work until 8 and then I go to work work.  There are about 5 or 6 people who are in the coffee shop at the same time as I am.  We say good morning and have some other pleasantries, but for the most part, I am in there on a mission.  I am trying to get things done.

There has been an old man ( I learned his age later; 85) in the shop every morning since I have becoming here for the last 10 years.  Back when I would just come in and purchase my coffee, we would have our normal pleasantries as I walked in or out.  Then when I started working the first two hours of the day in there, I noticed that he would get in there about 6:45 or so every day.  He would come in, grab his coffee, say hi to everyone and sit down and read the newspaper. And then sometime between 7 and 8 a few other regulars would come in and he and all of them would talk about everything under the sun.

In the last two years I have had a couple of conversations with him about a few things. He wore a hat with his Union displayed on it most days.  It was actually the same union that I was apart of when I worked in a previous career.  So we had a long conversation about that.  We would also talk about other events going on around town.

Honestly though, we didn’t have very many conversations.  He liked to talk, so it was more of my fault than his.  He knew that I was on a mission and I would be working or reading. So being the kind of guy I knew he was, he probably didn’t want to bother me.

There was about three weeks where I didn’t see him. One of other regulars who was a little closer to him told me that he had gotten sick and was in the hospital.  Nothing major was really wrong with him, but after being in the hospital for that long some other complications with his health had occurred.  And he has now passed.

He and I would sit within 3 feet of each other everyday.  We had our normal pleasantries every single morning, but that was pretty much it. Kind of sad, that I didn’t know him any better than I did.

Today and going forward I am going to take more time and get to know the people who are in here.  Why wouldn’t I. We are not going to hang out on the weekend or anything, but getting to know these regulars is something I should do.

Rest in peace Bill (old man at the coffee shop)



Have some manners

I see it everyday and I am sure you do as well.  I am just as guilty as the next person from time to time.  That is not taking the time to engage and interact with the people you come into contact with.  Think about a given day.  How many people do you interact with?  The people at the place where you get your coffee, the place you get your breakfast, the bank, your favorite lunchtime spot, tire repair center, your local meeting place where you conduct business, where you have dinner, where you have drinks, your colleagues for that matter, etc.

There are lots of times throughout the day that you interact with people and I am guilty as the next person at times being so focused on what I am doing, sending that text, or reading the last email that just came in, that I don’t give the proper attention to a person that they deserve. Giving them your full undivided attention when they are serving you is the minimum, but why not go above that!

1.  Give them your full attention no matter what.

2.  Say Good Morning, Good Afternoon, or some kind of pleasantry.

3.  Ask them how their day is going.

4.  Tell an individual person that they are doing a great job and give an example of why you feel that way.  EX:  Wow, you all are really busy right now, I appreciate how quickly you are completing everyone’s order, thank you.

5.  Give someone a genuine compliment that they may not see in themselves.  This requires you to go above and beyond, but it can make someones day, week, or month.

6.  Always say thank you!

7.  You may not have time for this, but if you do, what a great way to be courteous.  I love asking people to tell me their story.  Yep, I ask it just like that.  How did you start working here, how long have you been here, what do you like most about working here.  Who knows where this conversation will take you, I really just love hearing the stories.

Will you always get a favorable response?  NOPE! But who cares you can only control your actions.  A famous author says that everyone is dealing with something, and the fact that you can change that in one minute with your interactions with someone, is pretty cool.

Most people and I am just as guilty of this from time to time as well, just go through the day not engaging with the people who are serving you.  This is called being average.  If you are reading my blog, I know you don’t want to be average, right?  So be different from everyone else, and go above and beyond to be courteous to others, some of this stuff is just basic manners, but I challenge you to do more, because that is what we should do.

Please share with me any stories of how you did some of this today and what the results were.

Brian Willett