Growing Your Awareness and Attention

A New Way to Think About Growing Your Comfort Zone

Photo by qinghill on Unsplash

The other day I was reflecting upon a conversation I had with a colleague of mine. We were talking about an upcoming leadership training, and ideas for iterating portions of the training. And, what, prey, do you think happened? Yes, I, rather we, went straight to the whiteboard.

I ended up drawing an x and y axis, and though it was, in that moment, unclear exactly what I was trying to convey, upon reflection, it became much more clear. Hence, this post about growing your awareness and attention by getting outside of your comfort zone.

Here’s what we’ll cover.

  1. Attention
  2. Awareness
  3. Experiences
    1. Habituated Experiences
    2. New Experiences
  4. Growth
    1. Discovery
    2. Possibility

Ready? Good. Here we go.

Photo by Francesco Gallarotti on Unsplash

Attention and Awareness

We all have differing levels of attention and awareness. These levels also shift, dependent on our experience, which we will discuss more in a minute.

There are three basic levels of attention and the awareness; what we know we know, what we know we don’t know, and what we don’t know we don’t know. The last of which is also called a blind spot. We all have them. Phew. Still with me. Good.

Basically, it is those blind spots that we are addressing in this article. What we don’t know we don’t know. Because, in fact, the only way to understand what we don’t know we don’t know, is to have someone or something point to it.

Of course, we must be open to new experiences, learning, and paying attention. If we are, our awareness about ourselves as human beings will increase, and our blind spot, in this area at least, will decrease.

Experiences

When we choose to have the same experiences every day, sticking to our normal routine, or habits, we miss out on the opportunity to grow our attention and awareness. Why?

Because, when we stay in our normal routine, we don’t pay as close attention to our environments, as we do when we are in a new experience. Think about the last time you did something new. Did you pay closer attention to the experience? The sights, sounds, smells, or information you were receiving? Yep.

We pay more attention in a context that is new to us, because we don’t know what to expect, and, most likely, are a little unsure and hesitant. That is getting outside of our comfort zone. That feeling of unease.

Yet, when we get outside of our comfort zone, our capacity to pay attention increases, as does our awareness. And, when our attention and awareness increase by way of the new context we’ve exposed ourselves to, our attention and awareness increase in others as well.

Growth

As we grow our attention and awareness in new contexts, we discover new things about ourselves, and about the world. Of course, discovery is hard. We must be vulnerable, willing to take risks.

Humans have a tendency to stay inside of their comfort zones; inside of their habits, where they feel safe. However, inside of our comfort zone, discovery is not possible. Why? Because we know about these experiences. We’ve been doing them for, well, in some instances, all of our lives.

However, when we are open to new experiences, we get to discover, and we get to create new possibilities. As we learn and grow, we also get to create. It’s inside of this creative space, where new possibilities exist for our lives. It is quite beautiful.

Here is what growing your comfort zone, as we’ve discussed it here, looks like to me visually.

Corvallis, Oregon, 2021

As you can see in this simple diagram, the space in between our normal experiences, and new experiences, is where we can grow our attention and awareness.

Our attention to the new experience, which will spill over into all of our experiences, and our awareness of who we are as human beings. The latter also translates into understanding all human beings. It’s how it works.

Alright, that is a new way to think about growing our attention and awareness by getting outside of our comfort zone.

And, as my colleague would say and I’ve written before, the size of the step we take outside of our comfort zone is entirely up to us. And, once outside, we always get to return to our comfort zone.

The important thing to remember is that when we choose new experiences that challenge us, we are growing. And, well, growth is a beautiful thing to be a part of, and to watch.

#attention, #awareness, #comfort-zone, #discovery, #experience, #growingourcomfortzone, #growth, #habituation, #new, #possibility

Gateway

Image credit; Timur Kozmenko

Before us, stands
The gateway,
To another
Time

When life was full
Of promises, which
We held close to heart,
Even in times

That gave us a start, and now

As we prepare to cross
That boundary once again,
Dear friend,
Let’s remember

To let go of our preconceived

Notions of what life
Is supposed to be,

You see
Those illusions are based on
Something else

Altogether, reminiscence, yes,
Yet, all so very different

And now?

Before us, we have
A real chance
To start again,

Entering a new realm
Of possibility,
Where hope
Languishes in the air

Just like when life was simple,

And the flowers bloom
With a malodorous
Effect, which, I suspect,

Creates more potential
In each and every
Pupil

Of life,

All one has to do,
Is cross the threshold,
And behold, all that’s
Awaiting you

Just on the other side
Of that gateway
Where your
Life

Will continue to unfold

In response to prompt WDYS#64 from Keep it Alive, by Sadje.

#poetry, #gateway, #life, #love, #poem, #poems, #possibility, #wdys64

The Blog + Video Series #6: COVID-19 and the Art of Possibility

Possibility: Noun – a thing that may happen or be the case.

I’ve been thinking more about possibility this week. What’s possible in our new landscape? Are the same things possible today, as were possible 6 months ago?

Not sure? Me either, so let’s take a look.

The Art of Possibility is about creating a context. A context specific to new ways to think about old and or new problems or issues. It is about letting go of preconceived notions of what is possible in a given situation.

The psychology of possibility is rather simple. Let go of the past, be in the present, and create the future from where you stand today, seeing reality as it is.

Not how we think it is, rather how it really is.

Seeing reality as it really is means being aware of our thinking patterns, and knowing when we are limiting ourselves by presuming or assuming we know all there is to know about a problem, issue, or situation we are faced with. Factually, humans know very little – if you don’t believe this blogger, read a little Socrates.

Photo by Jez Timms on Unsplash

The sociology of possibility involves creating traction with those around us in the art of possibility. As I’ve written elsewhere, humans are social animals, and rely upon connections with other humans.

It is only natural then that groups will function in accordance with the language they use to describe their shared reality. If that language is about limitation then limitation is what they will see and create.

If, however, that language is about possibility, then possibility is what they will see and create.

The possibility of possibility is about remaining open to new ideas, new understanding, and letting go of the notion that we know. Seems simple, yet can be difficult, as human beings are in some ways programmed to think they know more than they do, which is where vulnerability comes in.

Being open means being vulnerable.

Be vulnerable today in some way. Create and share a possibility with someone in your context, and, or create and share a possibility here. Either way, create and share. What else is there, really?

#covid-19, #creativity, #knowing, #learning, #possibilities, #possibility, #psychology, #sociology, #theartofpossibility, #vulnerability, #vulnerable

Motivation: Is it an inside or outside job?

This week I’ve been more present to motivation. What I mean is noticing awesome people in my contexts doing amazing things, and the motivation that comes from creating such possibilities. 

A good friend of mine once told me that motivation does not come from an outside source, that, in fact, motivation comes from doing things. Thinking about motivation this way creates the space for an understanding that motivation doesn’t just magically appear. Motivation comes from doing, simple.

Yet, as human beings, understanding what is a simple concept about motivation, is not always simple to put into practice. Why? Because humans create patterns (or habits) that are very hard to change. 

However, it is possible to change them. And, the first step to creating that change, is to understand that the motivation to do so will develop inside the actions you take to make these changes. Motivation does not live inside of thinking about the changes, only in the doing.

With so much change happening as a result of the COVID-19 health crisis, then, all of us are living outside of our typical patterns, or habits, and that is difficult for everyone. You are not alone in feeling this way. 

It seems to me then that motivation is an inside job. The motivation to take action in life, lives inside the action itself, which we create.

Sometimes humans also want to connect an action to a result. However, connecting actions to results sets us up for failure. When we believe that we are taking action for a result, we concentrate and expect the result to look or be a certain way. And, when the result is not that way, we typically say, I’ve lost my motivation.

Motivation is not lost. It is simply hiding inside the next action, so let go of your expectations on the result, and take that next action.

My invitation – continue to take those daily actions, which create new patterns, new motivations, and new possibilities.

Until next time…

#action, #change, #covid-19, #habits, #motivation, #patterns, #possibility, #result

COVID-19 and the Art of Possibility

Possibility: Noun – a thing that may happen or be the case.

I’ve been thinking more about possibility this week. What’s possible in our new landscape? Are the same things possible today, as were possible 6 months ago? Not sure? Me either, so let’s take a look.

The Art of Possibility is about creating a context. A context specific to new ways to think about old and or new problems or issues. It is about letting go of preconceived notions of what is possible in a given situation.

The psychology of possibility is rather simple. Let go of the past, be in the present, and create the future from where you stand today, seeing reality as it is. Not how we think it is, rather how it really is.

Seeing reality as it really is means being aware of our thinking patterns, and knowing when we are limiting ourselves by presuming or assuming we know all there is to know about a problem, issue, or situation we are faced with. Facutlay, humans know very little – if you don’t believe this blogger, read a little Socrates.

The sociology of possibility involves creating traction with those around us in the art of possibility. As I’ve written elsewhere, humans are social animals, and rely upon connections with other humans. It is only natural then that groups will function in accordance with the language they use to describe their shared reality. If that language is about limitation then limitation is what they will see and create. If, however, that language is about possibility, then possibility is what they will see and create.

The possibility of possibility is about remaining open to new ideas, new understanding, and letting go of the notion that we know. Seems simple, yet can be difficult, as human beings are in some ways programmed to think they know more than they do, which is where vulnerability comes in. Being open means being vulnerable.

Be vulnerable today in some way. Create and share a possibility with someone in your context, and, or create and share a possibility here. Either way, create and share. What else is there, really?

Until next time…

#covid-19, #creation, #creativity, #human-development, #possibility, #psychology, #sociology, #vulnerability