Kepler's was privileged to have Winifred Gallagher discuss her book, Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life. Host Marilyn Stoddard reports:
Winifred Gallagher makes many intriguing points. Her theme is that the choices we make around attention affect the quality of our life. She says that our experience is what we agree to attend to. The amount of energy we can devote to attention is limited, so it is worth making conscious choices about how we use this resource. When we lose focus our mind tends to dwell on negative things. Negative emotions narrow your focus, while positive ones broaden it. Creative activity boosts your positive emotions, which widens your view, which gives you more material to work with. Meditation is like an attentional workout. (You practice controlling your attention and are then better able to do it in the rest of your life.) You can remind yourself that your basic feeling about life and your current source of stress are separate things. Achievers are noted for their intense focus as much as their ability. What engages you becomes engaging. Work or play that calls for rapt focus and is challenging leads to satisfying experiences. You are the most productive if you can set aside 90 minutes for a task. When you get interrupted, it can take 20 minutes to get up to speed again. When you ask couples to describe their week, the overlap of information is on the level of chance. We live in different worlds, and it takes a conscious effort to imagine things from your partner's point of view. We cannot always be happy, but we can almost always be focused which may be as close as we can get. The book covers many aspects of attention with chapters on relationships, work, motivation, mental health and more. I think almost anyone would get something out of it.