Welcome to the 26th post in our Journey in Dialog. In this post we deal with not only another restraining force to successful dialog, but also a way to undermine entropy.

Engaging in meaningful dialog requires a serious level of attention. The brain is easily distracted. It enjoys multi-tasking because it likes novelty. It is only when we focus sharply that the circuitry in the prefrontal cortex gets into a synchronized state.

Tony Robbins is reported to have said, “Where focus goes, energy flows.” When we focus our attention on a dialog exchange, we get a neural lock on this encounter. We get what one author calls, “A neural harmony – a rich, well-timed interconnection among diverse brain areas.” Neuroscientist Richard Davidson found that key circuitry in the prefrontal cortex gets into a synchronized state during sharp focus. Paying serious attention puts our brains in the zone.

How do we overcome the attention resistance of our friendly brains? We master selectivity. Selective attention works like a laser to focus on what you believe to be important. Our brains support such a focus by coming up with relevant information to enrich the focus.

In an experiment about attention, two teams were videoed passing a ball back and forth. The task of observers was to count how many times the white-shirt players passed the ball. In the middle of the video, someone dressed like a gorilla walked in, pounded his chest, and walked out. When asked for their answers to the number of times the white-shirt players passed the ball, most observers hadn’t noticed the gorilla. That was attention focus.

Someone said that selective attention helps you to filter out the noise and to focus on the signal. How do you feel when someone focuses this kind of attention on you when you are engaged in dialog? What kind of response does it stimulate in you?

Transformational dialog benefits from attention focus. Not only are we able to ignore distractions, but also those with whom we are in dialog sense that they both have our attention and that we are genuinely interested in them. We are listening and attempting to understand each other. That fact energizes us to be more open, responsive, and ready to explore together.

© 2018 The Living Dialog™ Ministries

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