Friday, September 04, 2009

Quantum Leap

In physics, a quantum leap is a change of an electron from one quantum state to another within an atom. This leap is a quick shift from one energy level to another and contradicts theories which expect energy levels to be continuous. A quantum leap is not necessarily a large change and in many cases can be inconsequential.

Focus in the human body is a form of energy placed on a particular thing. Our ability to focus on a singular task while also being observant of, but not distracted by, our surroundings allows us to more easily succeed in all aspects of life.

It is probably a stretch, as I know little about physics, but I believe that we take many quantum leaps in focus (energy) throughout our day ultimately decreasing our chances of being as efficient as we might otherwise be. For example, our task at hand is equivalent to an atom (the basic particle of matter made of a positively charged nucleus), while our focus is an electron (a fundamental constituent of matter that orbits the nucleus of an atom). As we place our attention on basic particles of what we are doing we orbit our task at hand never fully investing our attentional focus on what is relevant and necessary to perform at our best.

Because we orbit our task at hand we become more susceptible to make quantum leaps and change our focus from one state to another without ever knowingly doing so. This is why we can be working on a document, hear about something irrelevant, investigate what we heard, and lose our place in time. These small changes in focus (energy levels) act as a quantum leap because they change us from one state to another, yet differ from a quantum leap because they are rarely inconsequential.

Focus is a combination of intensity and direction where our ability to remain truly focused depends on how intently we can place our energy in a certain area. Any leap or shift in our energy directly influences our ability to maintain either the necessary intensity or direction we need to succeed. A weightlifter needs very intense focus with little direction and a golfer needs very intense focus and direction. Because of this they handle distraction differently, but quantum leaps would produce the same result; a decrease in performance.

The majority of us live in the world more similar to the golfer where if we plan on being productive we must have high levels of intensity and direction. Subtle shifts in our focus, or minor quantum leaps, have large effects on our productivity and therefore our performance. Because we live in a world where performance does matter, the quantum leaps we make during our day potentially can differentiate excellence from ordinary.

In order to stay focused we must keep in the front of our minds the purpose of our actions. We need to understand not just what we are doing, but understand why we are doing it, for if we are unable to do this the probability of us making quantum leaps greatly increases. We also need to create a mentality where our will to achieve is greater than our will to win. When we focus on achievement we allow our focus to remain narrow while still recognizing what is going on around us. By keeping our focus narrow and external we create the ability to perform while recognizing our surroundings but not being distracted by them.

No comments: