Mindful Monday #6

Why is it so difficult to concentrate? Why do we sometimes struggle to remember names or places? Do you also feel like your attention span is depreciating?

Mindful Monday is back! I really enjoy this series because it’s all about living in the present, focusing on your breath, being intentional and honouring gratitude.

I thought about how I know so many people who constantly tell themselves: “I’m terrible at remembering names”, “I really struggle to focus”, “I always misplace my things”. In today’s post, I’d like to share some techniques on how to concentrate, remember names better and discuss why love is about the quality of attention.

Meditate

The solution is to isolate yourself in the Himalayas, get rid of technology and meditate for 10 hours a day. I’m kidding (although it would probably seriously help). What you want to do is train your brain to focus. I’m bringing back the concept of neuroplasticity, whereby your brain physically changes with every experiences.

If you want to focus better, learn how to focus. It’s not something you have or don’t have, it’s a skill that you can develop. Meditation is the perfect tool to help you improve on that skill. Keep in mind that it’s much more meaningful and beneficial than just helping you focus, but that’s the advantage I’d like to emphasize here.

This is not the same thing as being mindful, because mindfulness is more of a lifestyle; embracing the present moment as often as possible. Meditation allows you to become more mindful.

Mindfulness meditation utilizes the breath and other physical cues in your immediate environment to help you acknowledge the present. By forming the habit of sitting down every morning or evening, for 5-10 minutes to focus on your breath, you train your mind to sit still. To not get distracted. To engage with your thoughts more consciously. To acknowledge the external world more clearly. To even help you remember better.

Sorry, what’s your name again?

I’ve mentioned Jim Kwik a number of times in previous posts, but it’s especially relevant to the topic of memory. In order to easily remember names, remember the acronym BE SUAVE.

BE SUAVE

  • Believe
  • Exercise
  • Say it
  • Use it
  • Ask
  • Visualize
  • End with it

Firstly, you have to actually Believe that you’re capable of this. There’s no use starting with limiting beliefs; you’re setting yourself up for defeat. No such thing as ‘I’m bad with names’, just put in effort. By Exercising, it implies repetition and continuous practice. Every skill requires practice to develop.

Saying it is about repeating the person’s name as they tell it to you, so you get to hear it twice. Using it is just regularly using their name throughout the conversation (in moderation). Asking relates to being curious about the origin of the name. Visualizing is about creatively thinking of their name in a memorable context (for example, if the person’s name is Matt, then you can imagine them on a flying mat). Ending it is just about repeating their name before you end the conversation.

It’s all about formulating a strategy. For more information, you can read the original article:

https://jimkwik.com/kwik-brain-006/

Attention!

I once read a quote that said:

“Love is the quality of attention we pay to things.”

Quite remarkable, don’t you think? I interpreted that to imply that we should starting paying a better quality of attention to our own lives. What does it really mean to love yourself?

If we have to think about the quality of our thoughts, habits and behaviours, we’d soon enough realize that there’s always work to do. But love is all about embracing the flaws, understanding that you will always have some form of imperfection, but striving for continuous improvement.

It all starts with attention. Pay better attention to life. Execute one task at a time. Remove distraction from your environment (especially digital). Find time to stare out of the window. It’s not about quantity, it’s about quality.

To recap what we’ve discussed so far:

  1. Meditate to enhance your focus
  2. BE SUAVE to help you remember names
  3. Pay quality attention to your own life

We’ll end on another brilliant quote, one which I often repeat to myself:

“Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right.”

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