Daniel Goleman, former NY Times science correspondent, and author of “Emotional Intelligence,” discusses the importance of having mental focus– and how easily we can become distracted. Staying focused is essential not only for high performance in worldly activities. It is also a necessary condition of reflection, to gain depth of understanding. If we want to develop a meaningful perspective on a subject we’re studying, a task at hand, or to understand ourselves, the ability to concentrate is indispensable, and that requires persistent focus. This program discusses the challenge of staying focused in our high-tech world, where an endless flow of new information can divert our attention. Brain functions that provide different levels of focus are covered. Also: we consider the benefits of focusing on positive emotions and personal virtues.
When I write, I come up to a studio on a hill above my house. There’s no phone in there. I don’t look at my email. I just get something done for an hour or two. Then I go down to my office, where all my distractions live, and I deal with the full day’s catastrophe of whatever it may be. And I think that that’s a strategy that we need to be more intentional about.”
—Daniel Goleman, fmr. New York Times science correspondent