Happiness, motivation, peak performance, and energy come when we’re living in the moment. Jon Niednagel, Director of the Brain Type Institute in California and an expert in how the brain works to regulate mental and physical performance, says, “Happiness will come when we’re more or less just perceiving life, enjoying it, and relaxing.” How can you do this? “Stop analyzing everything. People need to loosen up and be involved not so much in the results, but the process.” We all perform our best when we get involved in the process and enjoy the process. Take as an example a conversation you are having with a friend or colleague. How annoying it is when you don’t get her full undivided attention. Her eyes look in a different direction, she fidgets, checks somebody else out. She really isn’t listening to what you’re saying but is preparing to launch into her own monologue, almost unaware of your thoughts or feelings. That friend or colleague should be concentrating on exactly what is happening in that moment. She should be caught up in perceiving that moment in time, focusing on what you are saying, how you are saying it, the emotion of the moment. The mistake many of us make is in ignoring the moment. By doing so we really hold the present off at arm’s length. We stand back from it and ponder it rather than participating in it. Nowhere is that more exasperating or evident than in a conversation. A great conversationalist is totally caught up in what you are saying, understands what it is you are communicating, feels your emotion, and then reacts in a natural and empathetic way.
When someone is preparing his own rebuttal during the time you are talking, he escapes the moment and misses whatever you may be communicating. I notice this is especially true in television journalism. You will see an interviewer fidgeting with cards, listening on all earpiece to a producer, preparing the next question … anything but listening to the interviewee’s answer. The very best interviewers arc totally caught up in what their subject is saying. That’s what’s so innocent and charming about Katie Couric’s style of television. She doesn’t pretend to be interested, she is. She senses how you feel. Oprah Winfrey completely blocks out the technical aspects of television in order to enter completely into the moment. During a recent show I explained to her how white flour, white potatoes, white rice, and white bread increase blood sugar levels whereas brown rice and black beans maintain a healthfully lower blood sugar. Now most TV personalities would be quickly moving onto the next point, reading a cue card, looking at the monitor, checking time cues. Oprah, totally in the moment, turned to me and said, “So what you’re saying, Doctor Bob, is that white is bad, white is bad and brown and black are good,” to the delight of her audience.
CONVENTIONAL WISDOM: Worry.
THE REALITY OF SUCCESS: Life is a command performance. Live in the moment.
We will continue next time furthering the aspects of Seizing the Moment, such as acting, reading aloud, and incorporating selflessness.
Dr Leo Kady