Fragmented Minds

Ultra White Collar, boxing match Brighton

I’ve been chronicling boxing matches for quite a while now. It’s always a pleasure to get to know different locations and all the ins and out of the sport. The crudity of boxing, a different from other sports is the visibility of the wounds. It’s tough yes, all the sports are.

A single slip can cost you the match. Your body must be ready to go through the game as well as your mind. It doesn’t matter how well-built your muscles are if you can’t build the same strength in your head a strong body means nothing.

The ability to stay focus for as much as you can is the key of your success.

The book that best explain that is Deep Work by Cal Newport.

In this book the author gives a series of examples on why we can’t focus in a cognitive demanding task for a prolonged period of time.

Our increasing fragmented attention means longer time to achieve quality results. Newport gives examples of how increasing concentration gives you more freedom on the long run.

He also pushes the limits of brain power in order to get things done. His techniques allowed him to enjoy family life after work. So he knows first hand what he’s talking about. Deep work is about brain power, being in the zone and having a breakthrough as a consequence of going deep for a prolonged period of time.

What stays on my mind is the different philosophies that according to Newport would help to achieve great results.

The monastic philosophy which means self imposed seclusion in order to work deep in things that matter.

“ This Philosophy attempts to maximise deep efforts by eliminating or radically minimising shallow obligations”

The bimodal which navigates isolation in and out for set periods of time.

“ Those who deploy the bimodal philosophy of deep work admire the productivity of the monastics but also respect the value they receive from the shallow behaviours in their working lives”.

The rhythmic philosophy, which requires to do a little everyday. Over times those small chunks become a “chain” of work that exceeds in quality. It’s all about consistency I guess.

“ This philosophy argues that the easiest way to consistently start deep work sessions is to transform them into a simple regular habit. The goal, in other words, is to generate a rhythm for this work that removes the need for you to invest energy in deciding if and when you’re going to go deep”

The journalist philosophy is about  the now and here. This is the way journalist produce work for most of their working lives. As the time constrains are one of the impediments to have a fixed schedule. They’ve to be able to focus on a topic in between other tasks. This time of focus are so intense that their work almost always meets high quality standards.

“This name is a nod to the fact that journalists […] are trained to shift into writing mode on a moment’s notice, as is required by the deadline-driven nature of their profession”

Cal Newport recounts how successful people have adopted extreme measures in order to achieve their goals. Some of them went too far, but you get the idea. The chances of failing or succeeding depends on your willingness to do whatever it takes to produce excellent work.

Unfortunately, in today society is very common having a fragmented state of mind. Worst of all employers seem to encourage this behaviour.

As in boxing the slightest distraction provokes a slip. The contestant hits the floor. 10 second and you’re out.

Your ability to stand out and fight again and again keeping the focus at all times is what differentiates a great contestant from an average.

At the end going deep brings vast achievements. What’s more, a happy life.