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October 8, 2019

How to Concentrate with Dandapani

"Technology itself is not ruining your life, your inability to exercise discipline around the use of your technology is ruining your life."

DANDAPANI

Dandapani is a Hindu priest, entrepreneur and a former monk of 10 years. After graduating university with a degree in Electrical Engineering he left it all behind to become a Hindu monk under the guidance of one of Hinduism’s foremost spiritual leaders of our time, Sivaya Subramuniyaswami. For 10 years he lived a life of serious personal discipline and training at his guru’s cloistered Hindu monastery in Hawaii.

He works with entrepreneurs globally and companies such as Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Nike, Trivago, Fortress Investment Group, Xero in cultivating focus and managing energy. His TEDx talk has over 2.9 million views and both his GoalCast videos garnered over a total of 75 million views in just five months.


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Show Notes

ABOUT CONCENTRATION

  • Concentration is something you can learn and practice.
  • If someone in your life is struggling with concentration, the first step is to teach them how to concentrate, and the second step is for them to practice it to become better at it.
  • Have empathy and compassion for yourself when learning about concentration. You were probably never taught how to concentrate or how the mind works in school so while you are in the process of learning how to do it, you can’t expect perfection right away.
  • In everyday life, people make the mistake of telling others to focus without acknowledging their lack of training e.g. big companies tell their employees to focus without having taught them how to focus in the first place.
  • Technology is a wonderful tool. Technology itself is not ruining your life, your inability to exercise discipline around the use of your technology is ruining your life.

DEFINING CONCENTRATION

  • Concentration is the ability to keep your awareness on one thing for an extended period of time.
  • If your awareness drifts away to other topics, you are being distracted, and you can use your mental muscle to bring your awareness back to the task at hand.

TRAINING CONCENTRATION

  • Practice doing one thing at a time. Keep your awareness on one thing at a time.
  • Your awareness might start drifting e.g. midconversation with someone you might start wondering about what are you going to have for lunch. You can practice bringing it back, over and over, until your awareness is trained to stay on one time for an extended period of time.
  • After you have trained this ability, concentrating will become easier.
  • Concentration will also help your memory. You will be more likely to remember something if you were concentrating on it at the time.
  • The greatest impetus for leading a focused life is death. We have one life and it is finite. On your deathbed, you want to look back and think “that was amazing”. The only way you can say that is if you were present in all of the experiences in your life.
  • You can’t be in the moment if you can’t concentrate and focus your attention. Mindfulness is a byproduct of concentration.

AWARENESS

  • The mind is a vast space with many areas within it: anger, jealousy, happiness, food, etc.
  • Awareness is a glowing ball of light that can float around. Your mind doesn’t move, but your awareness travels to different parts of your brain.
  • Your goal is to control your awareness and determine where it goes in your mind. Your ability to keep that ball of awareness in one part of your mind for an extended period of time is your ability to concentrate.
  • Keeping your awareness on the page of a book long enough allows you to gain information from the book. If you can’t keep your awareness on the page, you won’t gain anything.

ONE THING AT A TIME

  • Practice doing one thing at a time. If you are speaking with someone, focus completely on them and bring your awareness back to them if your attention starts to drift. 
  • Use conversation as an opportunity to practice concentration. If you speak with your spouse for two hours a day and give them your undivided concentration, by the end of the month you will be skilled in concentrating.
  • If you are spending hours a day distracted, you’re going to become good at being distracted. Imagine six months of spending 10 hours a day distracted. You become good at whatever it is you practice—your mind doesn’t know the difference between what is right and wrong to practice.
  • Have empathy and self-compassion for yourself if you have been distracted for years and never been taught how to concentrate. 
  • It’s going to be a struggle while you are learning, and it might take you a few months or years to master, but you can look forward to many years ahead of living a concentrated focused life so it will be well worth the effort.
  • The rewards are far greater than the efforts put in.
  • Pick one person you see every day or one thing you do every day and use that one thing as an opportunity to practice concentration.

SHARE

  • Take a screenshot, tag us (@jimkwik and @DandapaniLLC) and tell us your favorite aha! moment from today’s podcast. 
  • Tell us what one task you’re going to use to practice your concentration!

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How to Concentrate with Dandapani

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