The author of the blog “Awake @ the Wheel” is Jonathan Fields (@JonathanFields). He was a big hedge-fund lawyer once back in the 1990s, but he made some dramatic life changes. Countless work hours, boat-loads of stress, and one hospital emergency later, he decided to be awake – not just alive – in his day to day life. His career path since then has careened through different avenues, and his blog is a source of encouragement and ideas for taking your business game to new levels. Fields, a self-described “Career Renegade,” delivers a message about taking risks and living in the moment. At the same time, he urges us to find inspirational role models and work like the dickens to reach our dream goals.
Despite our best efforts to achieve those goals, though, it can feel like some people simply have an instinct that the rest of us are missing. Borrowing from his example, think of that person in your office (it might even be you!) who is cool as a cucumber, if not better than usual, when a project goes awry. The answers seem to come to this person so quickly and smoothly that you wonder why you didn’t think of it. Their secret, of which they may not even be aware, may have to do with the times when they let their mind wander. Fields goes into detail about a practice called attentional training, or AT by which people can learn to exercise their mind and notice more details. The secret, as it turns out, may very well be attributed to what people are doing off the clock that gives them the edge. Both meditative practices where you let your mind relax (such as yoga or running on a treadmill) and skill-type practices where you must focus intensely for an period of time (such as playing a musical instrument or running on a trail) are examples of active AT.
Fields describes other facets of AT that you can read more about on his blog, but what I took away was this: sometimes what your mind needs in order to get from Point-A to Point-B… is a break.