Are You Fully Present to What’s In Front of You?

How often is it that you are completely listening to what someone is telling you? How often is it that someone is completely listening to you? Could you tell? Do you know the difference?

We often think that we’re very good at multitasking, but . It’s not that we’re not good at multitasking, per se. It’s more that when we do multitask, our attention is split, and we don’t do the things that we’re doing as well as we could. In fact, splitting our attention can cause us to miss important information in one of the tasks. :

During a conference call with the executive committee of a nonprofit board on which I sit, I decided to send an email to a client.

I know, I know. You’d think I’d have learned.

Last week I wrote about the . Multitasking is dangerous. And so I proposed a way to stop.

But when I sent that email, I wasn’t in a car. I was safe at my desk. What could go wrong?

Well, I sent the client the message. Then I had to send him another one, this time with the attachment I had forgotten to append. Finally, my third email to him explained why that attachment wasn’t what he was expecting. When I eventually refocused on the call, I realized I hadn’t heard a question the Chair of the Board had asked me.

Situations like these happen all the time. Except, like the author alludes to, they don’t always happen from they “safety” of one’s office. I’ve written about , but I didn’t broach the subject of texting while driving. As I make my way around Metro DC, I’m surprised by the frequency with which I peer over at the drivers around me to find someone with one hand on their phone (texting) and the other hand on the wheel…while simultaneously splitting one eye on the road and one eye on the phone. Now, I don’t mind so much, if someone’s texting (at a stop light, but there are perils to that, too), but while driving down the road!? Really, is your message that important? Is it worth… your life?

Initially, I led off the post talking about being present (or having someone being present) to what’s happening in the now. Specifically, I’m talking about being in a meeting, maybe on a date, or just simply having a conversation. Isn’t the conversation much more engaging when someone’s giving you their full attention. When you’re giving someone your full attention? Maybe you pick up on some subtle cues (that you usually miss). Cues that are communicated only when one’s attention is fully engaged in the other person.

It’s these instances – when there is complete  – can the best of what’s possible emerge.

Published by Jeremiah Stanghini

Jeremiah's primary aim is to provide readers with a new perspective. In the same vein as the "Blind Men and the Elephant," it can be difficult to know when one is looking at the big picture or if one is simply looking at a 'tusk' or a 'leg.' He writes on a variety of topics: psychology, business, science, entertainment, politics, history, etc.

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