Do you hear the ring? Did you see the message? Did you feel the vibration?
Pay attention, or you’ll miss it.
Consider an ancient story:
A student said to Master Ichu, "Please write for me something of great wisdom." Master Ichu picked up his brush and wrote one word: "Attention." The student said, "Is that all?" The master wrote, "Attention. Attention." The student became irritable. "That doesn't seem profound or subtle to me." In response, Master Ichu wrote simply, "Attention. Attention. Attention." In frustration, the student demanded, "What does this word 'attention' mean?" Master Ichu replied, "Attention means attention."
But attention to what? Notifications, alerts, rings, alarms, reminders?
We are programming ourselves to react to the next urgent task at hand, even before the one we are focused on is finished. But are either really going to help us to achieve what we have set out to do today, this week, this year?
As the next great productivity boost floods our professional lives with more information, more connection, more possibility, many of us are searching for ways to keep ourselves more present to the intention of our work. Not just present to the immediate situation - the person we are speaking with, the email we are writing, the urgent problem that seemingly can’t wait - but also to how it links to what we want to achieve.
In the midst of the storm, our challenge is to stay stable in our situation and the intention of our work — to cultivate a personal presence — attentive to the moment and at the same time open to whatever may come next. One in which we are actively listening, constantly observing and deliberately engaging.
Here. Now. This is where and when we are at our most powerful.