Sunday, January 18, 2015

Focus by Daniel Goleman

focusDaniel Goleman has built his career being the bridge between business and the brain. A global best selling author of ground-breaking books on ‘emotional intelligence’ and ‘social intelligence’ . Goleman is no social media slouch either, he is skilled in Twitter and one of LinkedIn’s original official ‘influencers’ with viral posts on the site and almost 2 million business followers. I don’t say this often, the man is a master.

Not many people understand the value of the brain, how it works at work, what distracts it from productivity and how to overcome that distraction. Focus1There is NO better book to read at this moment, when we are at the height of distraction, than his book – Focus.

Goleman brings value to the reader by providing insight and resources to strengthen three types of focus:

 

  1. Inner Focus: He shares the concept of ‘cognitive control’ that will allow us to calm the noise in our heads, the noise we’re attacked with constantly. Whether it’s through learned mindfulness through breathing, meditation in a practical way or understanding yourself and what breaks your focus, you will gain tools to regain some sanity in this age of distraction.
  2. Other Focus: Empathy is a word we’ve weakened by ghettoizing it to the touchy-feely world of feelings. This is a critical skills for anyone who works with people, leaders especially. There are many examples of how high performers who were struggling with a change of focus from their own success to a career evolution to leadership where they are now responsible for many people’s success. This is listening 2.0 training!
  3. Outer Focus: Goleman is truly a man of this time. He grasps digital tools both software and hardware as well as being a master of social media. These resources help the reader understand how to move from distraction to curation of the noise for personal success and organizational leadership.Focus2

This book is a touchstone and reset for people who want to continue to integrate into this brave new world of communication and retain a personal focus and mental strength. If you want to quickly learn more about the three types of focus, read this Forbes article and watch the video at the end of this post.

We work out our bodies all the time but we take for granted that mental strength and focus is like a muscle that constantly needs to be exercised but none of the academics who teach these skills are part of this century’s business or digital ecosystem – Goleman is. Which is why this book is the how-to that is a must-read.

It’s also a wonderful reminder that one of the strongest assets to focus is rest and downtime. Stories like Mark Benioff’s ( the creator of SalesForce ) and many more leaders finding powerful ideas and business value in taking time away or off will inspire you to make time for yourself. In a world where we don’t take vacation for our career, we need to be reminded that it will stagnate if we don’t make room for creativity.

If you have the attention span ( do you? ) here is a brilliant 1 hour talk by Daniel Goleman at Google on Focus.

The Harvard Business Review reminds us that leaders need focus now more than ever. For now, enjoy this quick 90 second video on the 3 types of focus.

And if you haven’t read his previous books, check them out.

Thanks for reading. Paul Nazareth

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