Strategic Thinking: Narrowing Your Attention Span

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to help you filter distractions in your decision making.

      Hank Aaron became baseball’s all-time home run hitter with the help of a well-developed ritual that narrowed and sharpened his attention span.

Hank Aaron on deck
Hank Aaron held the career home run record for 33 years until 2007

        After swinging a bat in the on-deck circle, Aaron would take off his baseball cap. Then through one of the small holes (air vents) in his cap, he would stare at the pitcher. The small holes helped Aaron more carefully frame his view, focus his attention and filter distractions to better prepare to meet the pending challenge in the batter’s box.

        I wish I had a magic hat like that to better focus my attention and filter out distractions as I prepared for a specific initiative. But I usually feel like I’m wearing a mesh hat with hundreds of holes like a sieve. No wonder information flows into and out of my attention span like a Flood of Facebook Likes or Tsuami of Tweets and Texts. Too much too fast.

       Now before major decisions, I like to sit back and mentally squint at the problem, trying to narrow the focus. I know that the better I can filter out the distractions, the more effective I will be. Narrowing, my attention span  and separating the wheat from the chaff is a critical leadership skill that I have to consistently work on. With enhanced precision comes enhanced performance, like the Hindu story of the Master Archer who is teaching a student to hit the target – a bird made out of a straw hung from a tree. Continue reading “Strategic Thinking: Narrowing Your Attention Span”

Are You Turning Forty or Forte?

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to help you better cope with a perceived personal crisis. Reading time: 3:57.

           Dreading your 40th birthday? I sure did.  But I survived and even thrived because I practiced one of the most critical leadership skills:  framing the problem or issue so you can better solve it.

          Even if you’ve already turned the BIG 4-0, this framing concept can work for you.

         Let’s examine the problem of turning 40 as initially presented: Sure, I was getting older. But, could I also be getting stronger? You decide.  Here’s how I framed the issue.

        At 40, I thought of myself stepping onto a launching pad — not onto a guillotine.  A launching pad? Where did I get an absurd idea like that? From a visionary author who saw deep into the heavens, deep into the sea and deep into the center of the earth.

      Jules Verne helped me see deeper into the center of me.

    There on page 117 in his book From the Earth to the Moon,  Jules Verne is describing  the first manned moon launching 104 years before Neil Armstrong.

38…39…40 Blast Off

            And significantly – even poignantly – Jules Verne launches his man to the moon with a count UP …38…39…

           You guessed it. At the count of 40, the rocket ignites, propelling the fictional astronaut to go higher, faster and farther than any other human has gone before –to the moon. Blast off! At 40!! Continue reading “Are You Turning Forty or Forte?”