“The mark of a person who is in control of consciousness is the ability to focus attention at will, to be oblivious to distractions, to concentrate for as long as it takes to achieve a goal, and not longer.”
(Csikszentmihalyi, 2008, p. 31.)
When I was ten, I used to swim every day. I already knew how to swim, but I took classes for years because I enjoyed to be in the water. I lived in a place with hot and humid weather. Even when raining, I was there, the only child wanting to swim.
One day in the class, we were starting our laps from one starting track, as if we were in a competition. Imagine all the children in a line waiting for their turn. I was the last, I was there ready for jumping. I heard the whistle and I jumped. When I fell into the water I started to swim, but I couldn’t move forward. My teacher, who was inside the pool, stopped me. Confused, I stood up and I asked what was happening. He told me:
- “You don’t do it like that anymore. You already know how to do it.”
I smiled. I thought “what did I do wrong?” Without thinking too much, I repeated the jump and, this time, I could continue my way to the other side of the pool.
Many years after, I remember my percussion teacher asking me why I was doing something wrong, if I already knew the right way to do things. He used to say:
- “You don’t play like that.”
Yes, by observing more carefully, I noticed that I was playing differently than what I thought. There was an awkward new movement in my arms or the sticks were not at the same height, etc.
The swimming and the percussion lessons have something in common: my lack of attention. Continue reading Your attention please