Breaking The Distraction Chains

8 08 2016

Have you ever given thought to the connection between ATTENTIVE CONSISTENCY and SUCCESS?stencil.facebook-ad-link

What I mean by ATTENTIVE CONSISTENCY is the continual capacity to give quality focus and concentration to a pre-determined priority; gaining a deeper and deeper understanding with each days focus. This is very similar to immersing yourself for a period of time in something you have a deep passion for or has significance to you. Examples of ATTENTIVE CONSISTENCY could include a relationship, hobby, business, sport, or even yourself.

But there is a problem.

I believe many of us are missing out on the deep joy and sense of fulfillment that accompanies the capacity to fully engage in and consistently focus on important priorities. We are often lured away from this type of experience because of multiple distractions. I define a distraction as anything that interrupts the flow of our attention.

Ask yourself this question: What is the length of time I can give quality focus and concentration to a pre-determined priority without being internally or externally interrupted?

How do we BREAK THE STRONG CHAINS OF DISTRACTION? How do we train ourselves to experience times of flow where we sustain our focus more often and with greater endurance?

Before I give some thoughts on this topic I want to say that there are many that have attentional challenges. The thoughts I want to put forth place no judgement on those attentional challenges or the means in which they are managing them.

First, I want to say that there are (3) distraction busters that have served me extremely well. None of these are quick fixes but if practiced consistently can strengthen our capacity to focus immensely over time.

1. Meditation: Until recently, I would not have included this because I had no experience with this practice. It seemed a bit “cheesy” to be honest. However, I decided I was going to build an internal library of EXPERIENCE rather than uneducated opinion. I was pleasantly enlightened by the results I found when I took just 10 minutes to quiet myself and my mind. Initially I found it difficult to SLOW DOWN enough to even get through a meditation session without immense distraction. Over time, I have found myself with incredible capacity to stay centered and calm despite a whirlwind of chaos around me. I am sold on the benefits of this practice. HEADSPACE is the app I use and the TAKE 10 challenge is very helpful.

2. Journaling: I have found writing to be incredibly helpful for taking internal confusion and producing crystal clarity. Sound helpful tips: In the morning identify **one word** that defines the way you want to “show up” in the world. Write a paragraph as to why, allowing yourself only 5 minutes to write. This is a great way to start your day. Another tip is to pose a question to yourself at the end of the day, What challenged me today? What did I learn? Again take 5-10 minutes to write. Most people get overwhelmed by the thought of writing pages and pages. This is unnecessary in my opinion.

3. Exercise: The benefits to being active are too numerous to count. Needless to say when we stay active we are able to fuel our minds with what it needs to focus. It is important that you know that I am not necessarily talking about the WORKOUTS of athletes, although they are helpful as well. Going on a 30 minute walk, moving around the house in between tasks is also helpful. JUST DO NOT SIT FOR TOO LONG WITHOUT MOVING.

DISTRACTIONS are blinding! They entice us to pay attention to information that is of little to no long term value. Those of us that are CONSTANTLY CHASING THE LATEST SHORT TERM FAD are often lacking the ability to track the life stories of those closest to them leaving the relationship bankrupt of deep connection.

IF you are looking to be enlightened with the wonder of strengthened focus and concentration make a commitment to one of the three DISTRACTION BUSTERS above.

Post your most common distractions in the comments below and which of the distraction busters you are going to implement today!





Hard Work is Over Rated

4 06 2015

Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 9.30.45 PMYou may have looked at the title of this blog and wondered, who is this crazy person that thinks success can come in any other way but through HARD WORK. I am not here to deny or debate the value of hard work. However, what I do want to highlight is that it takes a lot more than HARD WORK to experience and enjoy success. In fact, the work part of success is in my mind the lowest common denominator.  This topic is important to me because, (over the years and thousands of athlete interviews later) I believe we have taken the concept of hard work and exhausted its effectiveness. Go to any sporting event where young people are participating and someone: a coach, a parent, or now even other players will speak about the importance of work ethic and instead of the message coming from a place of inspiration, passion, and deeply held motivation and purpose it is almost a form of punishment and condemnation. It sounds like this: “Lets make sure we come with our lunch pale and outwork the other team.” When interviewed, many coaches start with talking about work ethic as though this is always the differentiating dynamic in wins and losses. In other venues, school, work, and relationships we bring the same focus to HARD WORK.

Like I said I am not in any way denying that work ethic isn’t valuable and a powerful contributor to success in all arenas of life. But, is it possible that we are losing some other very important SUCCESS FACTORS because we have obsessed with work ethic for SO LONG?

It would be fair to ask the question: What are some other important SUCCESS PRINCIPLES we should speak of instead?

Strategy: Energy without a plan or set of principles to focus that energy leaves many frustrated and without any capacity to evaluate and most importantly learn. When we highlight HARD WORK we often spend little to no time teaching the value of how to DIRECT and FOCUS that hard work to get a certain result. This is why when I ask athletes participating across multiple sports, “what is the key to success?”, often the only answer is WORK HARD. When people bring great work ethic to a challenge or competition with a substandard or non-existent strategy losing, disappointment, deep doubt, and discouragement are not far away.

Contribution Clarity: We all have more to offer a situation then simply going “ALL OUT.” When faced with challenges this is where we should be looking for our UNIQUE CONTRIBUTION. In other words, what was I able to CONTRIBUTE that is CLEAR to me! Often times we de-personalize contribution by putting it into the HARD WORK category. When athletes know what their teammates and coaches are counting on from them within a strategy designed to bring success, engagement and motivation is often higher. Success can then be shared at much deeper levels.

Adjustments: When studying those that are often consistently successful, what we learn is that adjustments are often a big part of this. Breaking down the nature of adjustments we realize that in order to make a helpful adjustment you need to start with a strategy, clarify roles and expectations, then observe how things are playing out to determine an adjustment that increases the probability of success. Unfortunately, most of the time the approach is not to make adjustments but WORK HARDER!! This often leads to greater frustration, discouragement, and a feeling of hopelessness.

Strategy, Clear Contribution Markers and Adjustments created from observation are not only powerful success factors but can be applied to any situation in life. Because of our obsession with HARK WORK we are not teaching our young people to add these valuable principles to their skill sets and because of this I believe we are not as successful as we could be individually and as teams.

Lets break our addiction to HARD WORK as the end all of success and get creative and committed to applying these other success principles. We might find that HARD WORK may actually increase within the growth of these other principles.





Communities that Unleash Kids for Success

11 09 2014

It is no secret that people thrive and exhibit moments of greatness when they are engaged and firmly rooted in a safe physical and emotional environment. I am compelled to write on this topic because there is not a day that goes by where I am not Who's Got Your Backhearing about some young person that is emotionally bruised, hurt, or devastated because of the social environment they are in.

THIS HAS TO STOP!

This writing is not intended to analyze all of the breakdowns that lead to an unsafe emotional environment. There are plenty of much smarter analysts that have written and exposed those much more effectively than I can. Rather, I would like to envision a type of community that we could aspire to provide for our young people. This community, whether it be a sports team, classroom, church group, or neighborhood, could be the most powerful asset present in a young person and families life.

I envision a community that is built first and foremost on acceptance. Acceptance is the life source that unleashes courage, self expression, belonging, and a sense of unconditional love. The type of acceptance I am referring to is actively, diligently, and ferociously protected at all costs. When someone says something that compromises the sense of acceptance of anyone present it is gracefully but intentionally dealt with. Acceptance is like soul food for the heart and soul of a young person. When ones sense of acceptance is not in question miracles of self expression happen. Fear of rejection is minimized, bullying is not tolerated and the hearts of young people are protected with fierceness and loyalty.

I envision a community where people are fully present. Imagine watching your kids learn how to start, grow, and maintain friendships. Friendship only grows when people learn how to become fully present and authentically interested in each other. I believe that we would see the hearts and souls of our young people come alive if they were able to EXPERIENCE THIS! The hearts of our young people are craving a touch from another loving, caring and present soul. Have you ever wondered why so many kids are “acting out” these days. I believe it is because the hearts of our young people are starving for authentic connections with others. In the absence of this the soul cries out in ways that seek to get the attention of those that can do something about it. A community of acceptance fueled with fully present people would literally perform miracles for many hurting kids.

I envision a community where young people are pursued with passion, fueled by the possibility another sees in them. Pursuit is powerful. We all like to be sought out, chosen and believed in. When people are taught to be and act like this with each other our young people actually end up becoming difference makers in each others lives. A community, team, group, or neighborhood that makes this type of social environment a necessity, rather than an after thought, will give each family and young person a gift of a life time.

Let me give you one other thing to consider:

You can watch exceptionally talented athletes at young ages, listen to musical talent from young people that will bring you to tears on The Voice, and Google the latest business idea that came from a 14 year old…imagine training and equipping more young people with the capacity to become difference makers socially with each other.

IT CAN BE DONE!

I HAVE DONE IT!

Look at “Who’s Got Your Back? Team Experience 1.0 Building and growing groups that transform one another.”

ACCEPTANCE, PRESENCE and PURSUIT actively executed with courage, conviction and consistency is a game changer. Let’s take this vision and make it a reality for our young people. Lives will be changed and transformed forever!

You wonder if I am right? Ask the parents that lay in bed at night wondering if their son or daughter is going to go another year without friends or experience some form of rejection the next time they go to practice or school.





Confidence…oh, so often misunderstood!

19 01 2011

One of the most common topics that I get asked about from players, coaches, and parents has to do with confidence.  The questions I get vary as people attempt to understand this seemingly misunderstood concept. Below are three of the most common questions I get and my response to them in a attempt to bring greater clarity for those seeking to develop confidence, as well as, understand the role of confidence in understanding performance.

1. Is confidence a critical factor in how someone performs?
Although confidence plays a part in impacting how an athlete performs, what is more critical is how masterful an athlete has become concerning the foundational skills of the sport they play. What is true is that an athlete develops a great deal of confidence based on how effective they feel they have been at developing and mastering skills that allow them to compete with those they play against. If an athlete hasn’t invested the time, energy, and dedication to practicing the skills needed to experience success then confidence should not be a “right”.  Therefore, what is important to performance has more to do more with skill development than confidence.

2. When my son/daughter seems to lack confidence is the antidote encouragement?
The answer to this is maybe. I believe we have become a culture (especially with our kids) that believes the answer for every problem is encouragement. Certainly our kids need optimistic, positive people in their life, however, they also need “truth tellers” that are able to communicate truthful statements in optimistic and positive ways to help them build a healthy self perception built on better “truth”. Telling an athlete they played well when they didn’t does nothing to build their confidence, in fact, it confirms in the mind of many that adults just tell kids things to make them feel better. This actually erodes the possibility of confidence because of the credibility that is lost.

The last question is: What helps to grow self-confidence?
I want to start by saying that confidence can be compartmentalized into different life interests. For example, I can be confident in my ability to understand a persons emotional pain and have zero confidence in my ability to build shelves for my garage. My lack of confidence in building doesn’t compromise my overall confidence as a person it simply means I have not developed the skills associated with building shelves. With this example as a guide I believe the inner belief in oneself that we label as confidence is created, grown, and developed when we invest time, energy, interest, and genetic cooperation to develop what it takes to perform effectively in competitive situations. Because of this, I believe developing true confidence is, in reality, within all of our control. I hope the clarification around this often-used topic is helpful.

Shaun Goodsell
President and CEO, Mental Edge

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Maybe they act like they don’t care because they don’t care!

25 10 2010

One question that is posed to me on almost a daily basis is why do many young people exhibit characteristics of apathy and laziness? While reflecting on this I have pondered many possible explanations. These include being pampered, disinterested, and the environment of low expectations to name a few.  It is possible that each of these holds some merit in trying to explain some of the problematic behavior that appears in some of our young people.

However, I have come to believe that the answer may not be as complicated as I first thought.  Maybe many act like they don’t care because they don’t care! The more I talk to young people the more they tell me they can’t see the connection between school and sports performance and their future. Not only is this blurry but much of the material they are learning in school is not only irrelevant to them but often presented in a manner that does more to put them to sleep then to engage them in a pursuit of ongoing curiosity leading to enhanced living. I often wonder if there is some virtue in choosing disengagement, which is a form of rebellion, to compliance simply for the sake of doing what you’re supposed to.  Where has that lead most of us?

For many this formula has lead to living an uninspired life stuck in jobs that we hate, marriages that are shallow and lifeless, and a life that is to be survived rather then savored. The survival strategies include but are not limited to alcohol abuse, food abuse, over spending, Internet addictions, and simply engaging in activity for the sake of distracting ourselves to avoid the realization that we are simply existing and not truly living. Sometimes, this internal dissatisfaction leads us to focus energy towards over controlling our kids telling them “we want them to avoid the pain that we currently live with by helping them see a better way”.

Inspiration and engagement comes by seeing and experiencing, not by words that are often hypocritical. If we truly want to SHAKE UP our kids maybe the way to do this is to begin to take pride in our own lives. Maybe if we cultivated an appetite for better living by challenging ourselves and those around us to overcome their fears of inadequacy, and heal from the disappointments of their lives, maybe our example would DRAW and ATTRACT those around us to become curious about the new found passion, inspiration, and courage that has now become an authentic expression of our everyday lives.

I believe that our kids are screaming for meaning, purpose, and inspiration. There is a hunger for examples that are credible because of the life they live not the rhetoric they spew to authentically lead our young people to engage in life in a new manner. Maybe our kids act like they don’t care because they don’t care. Why should they?

What do you think?  Please let us know with your comments below!





What is happening to our community?

20 10 2010

Everywhere you look, you hear or see something that tells you relationships are breaking down. Bullying is back in the news, Facebook fighting is being reported at an all time high, and many young people seem to be doing more to tear each other down then build each other up. What has gone wrong to create these disturbing dynamics?

First, basic relationship skills are not being taught. There is more emphasis on teaching people about Math and Science than the skills of conflict resolution and interpersonal communication. Many run to their social networking sight to learn about someone else rather then be face to face and allow curiosity to take over. Often, on these sights as well as cell phones, people can tear someone down because they can’t see the pain created in their eyes.

Second, many adult relationships seem to contain the toxic chemicals of greed, judgment, gossip, and shallowness. It seems as though many adults require an activity to distract them while they are with each other: a game, a party, or alcohol. These provide the reason to get together and therefore, people are in the same room without any ability to truly be fascinated by the wonder of those around them. Having fun has become the addiction rather than the thrill of a deeply satisfying conversation that can ignite the joy of a person in a moment.

Third, it seems as though many are preoccupied with themselves while those around them sit waiting for quality interaction. It is my belief that we can show courage by over coming fear in many areas, however, it appears we are still deathly afraid of vulnerability and being “known”.

It is time we stop focusing on symptoms that only point out to us there is a problem. Certainly bullying, gossip, cliques, and violence are problems. However, they should force us to take a good look at ourselves and how we live. Are we cultivating deep relationships with our spouses, kids, friends and other important people? Do those around us feel as though we are approachable?  Unless we stop accepting meaningless interactions as normal and start holding ourselves to being examples to people around us, especially young people, of deeply engaging relationships grounded in non-judgmental unconditional love, we will continue to reap the results of disconnection. The results are often deadly.

Please make a commitment today to move towards those in your life. Do the work of forgiveness and reconcile with people that have wronged you, if possible, and pursue relationships that have the power to transform those around you. You just might be transformed yourself!

Like this? Please let us know your thoughts and experience in the comments below!

Shaun Goodsell/ Mental Edge Founder





8/16 Marks the 1st day for the Boys of Fall

14 08 2010

August 16th Players from all over the country will carry on age old traditions of bonding, competitive challenge, and deep memory creation!

Would love to hear your comments and I’ll personally respond to as many as possible.

Shaun