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Transform your Approach to Challenge

  • Discover the opportunities for growth in your daily tasks
  • Cultivate interior silence
  • Bring your highest ideals into your actions
  • Attain your highest level of focus at will

Introduction

The way we work is the way we live. If we are working at our best, we will be living at our best. The meaning of our life is intimately linked with the meaning of our work, which depends on the meaning that we find in each one of our daily tasks. Read More

Obstacles

There are three different kinds of obstacles we face when we’re trying to work at our best. The first comes from working with a negative attitude towards the task at hand. The second comes from a habit of multitasking, which leads us to want to switch too quickly between tasks. The third comes from not challenging ourselves sufficiently within the task. Read More

Setting the Stage

Attaining your highest level of focus comes down to knowing how to set the stage for it. There are three steps needed to enter flow. We summarize them with the mnemonic, “Ready, Set, Go!” With practice, you will be able to attain flow at will. The best method of practice is to set aside, preferably at the beginning of your day, an hour (more or less) for practicing focus. We call this the Golden Hour, because all the progress you will make in working at your best will in some way come by means of this practice. Read More

Priming

The Golden Hour is a time of remarkable growth: the better we get at setting the stage and using it for practice, the greater our ability to enter flow at will. The steps of setting the stage outlined in the previous chapter, summarized by “Ready - Set - Go!”, become a ritual that signals to our attentional system that now is the time for optimal focus. By setting the stage for work, we prime ourselves for the highest levels of focus. It is important to have a deliberate morning routine that primes us for the best day possible. Read More

Reframing

Reframing is the act of deliberately discovering an opportunity for growth in a challenge we face. We only complain about the challenges our tasks present to us; and yet, it is only by rising to challenges that we grow in strength and skills. The key to reframing is to approach challenges with a growth mindset, deliberately discovering in them a way of growing by working at our best. Every task, at each moment of our day, is an opportunity for growth and practice. We unlock the growth potential of each task by rising to the challenge in it — and by challenging ourselves through it. Read More

Recollecting

The second step of Ready - Set - Go! is to settle your mind before launching. Mindfulness is ideal for this purpose. When we mindfully pay attention to something — for instance, the sensation of our breath — we allow a moment of absolute silence to enter the body and mind. Once it feels like our attention has settled, we are ready for the next step. Read More

Challenging

The third step of Ready - Set - Go! is the most important, for it determines the intensity with which we will work. It’s what turns mindful focus into the phenomenon of flow. This third step gives you adrenaline, and brings you to the state of effortless attention, freed from distractions and wayward impulses. We do this by having a challenging amount of work that we seek to complete within a set time period. Read More

Flow

We all go into flow when we’re doing something we love. The usual obstacles are taken care of by love itself: our appraisal of the task will most surely be positive, and love is the best way of keeping our attention in the present moment, without suffering intrusions from our default attention’s unfinished business. Love also leads us to give ourselves in the task: if we love to do it, we strive to do it more; love leads us to challenge ourselves to make the most of the task. With each obstacle removed by love, we find ourselves easily going into flow. Read More