GoalSpan Logo
Jan 23, 2024
play_arrow pause

Your Attention at Work (Replay)

Your Attention at Work (Replay)
This week Jeff returns to his engaging conversation with Gloria Mark, Chancellor’s Professor at UC Irvine. Join Jeff and Gloria as they delve into the intricate relationship between our digital and offline behaviors. They explore the impact of technology on stress, mood, and overall well-being, shedding light on the challenges posed by information overload, especially in the workplace. Listen in as Jeff and Gloria challenge the myth of multitasking and unveil the advantages of monotasking. They also dissect the four common myths surrounding technology usage in the workplace. Gloria shares valuable insights on how incorporating meditation and mindfulness practices can enhance focus, leading to improved goal achievement, communication, decision-making, efficiency, and safety.


Intro: Duration: (03:57)

Opening music jingle & sound effects

Jeff Hunt:

Welcome back, Human Capital listeners. As we pick up steam in the first quarter of a new year, one that is full of possibilities, it's time to address a common obstacle on our journey to success, distractions. I'm your host, Jeff Hunt, and today we're revisiting what I thought was a gem of an episode from our archives.

In this replay, I dove into the intricate dance between technology, attention, and well being with Professor Gloria Mark. Her research uncovers the pitfalls of multitasking and unveils the power of monotasking, which is a game changer in pursuit of our goals. Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the constant buzz of notifications?

Gloria and I discuss the antidote. We explore how mindfulness and monotasking can transform the way we work and also help us achieve our goals. Join us as we unravel the myths of technology at work, debunking the fallacy of multitasking. Gloria's journey from fine arts to psychology paints a fascinating backdrop for our discussion on attention management.

Meditation and the correlation between attention and goal achievement. Hope you enjoy!

Jeff Hunt:

Welcome to Human Capital I'm Jeff Hunt. Today we live in an age where we are highly dependent on technology. It governs a huge portion of our waking lives, and the benefits of what we can do today are just staggering. Consider that an iPhone today is as powerful as the most advanced desktops from just a few years ago. Technology is revolutionizing our very existence, but it also seems to mysteriously suck us in even when we feel like it's against our free will. Our use of technology at work is ubiquitous and it can help us achieve goals, communicate better, make better decisions, and dramatically improve both efficiency and safety.

But there can be downsides to our relationship with technology. And today we're gonna talk about this and how we can manage it with both the right tools and mindset. My guest today is Gloria Mark, who is chancellor's professor at UC Irvine, and she has done extensive research on the relationship between our digital and our offline behavior. Specifically, the interplay of stress, mood, and computer usage. Gloria has found that we can easily be overloaded with information, and the result is that we get overwhelmed, especially in the workplace. Through her work, she is leading the search for solutions that can alleviate this kind of stress and its serious health implications.

I am excited to invite her on the show today to discuss her new book: “Attention span, a groundbreaking way to restore balance, happiness, and productivity”. Welcome, Gloria.

Gloria Mark:

Thank you so much, Jeff, for having me,

Jeff Hunt:

Well, I love your book title. It's just sounds so wonderful. Like let's restore balance, happiness, and productivity already. Okay.

Gloria Mark:

That's been my objective for the last 20 plus years.

Topic 1. Who or what inspired you the most along the way? (03:58)

Jeff Hunt:

I am really looking forward to kind of unpacking that. And I just finished reading your book yesterday and I love it. And listeners, it's on my recommended books list on the Human Capital website. And so, to kick off this conversation, Gloria, why don't you start us with just a little thumbnail of your career journey.

Tell us how you got to this point, where you're writing about this important topic where, as I mentioned in the intro, we feel like we're sucked in sometimes and we don't even have control. But tell us a little bit about your career journey.

Gloria Mark:

I started out with a degree in fine arts. And never thought I would do anything else. I thought I was set, but I discovered very quickly how hard it was to make a living in art. I was also good at math, so I thought, , why don't I do something related to math?

It's a lot easier to make a living and through some twists and turns, I discovered psychology, and I ended up doing my PhD at Columbia University. And when I graduated, I was not necessarily stuck on going into academia. I was pretty open, there were some really good alternatives for doing research, so I ended up at EDS.

Electronic Data Systems studying, and I was the lone psychologist probably in the entire company that was studying how people were using technology. And from there I continued studying technology, but it wasn't until I got to UC Irvine in the year 2000 that I really started noticing the effects that technology has on individuals in particular stress.

And I noticed starting life as an academic that I was just tethered to my screen and it was just very hard to break away. But I was also noticing that it was very hard for me to focus on any particular screen. and I kept switching my attention among different tasks, among different applications.

We didn't have smartphones back in 2000 of course that later became an additional thing to move your attention to. But I was wondering to what extent, is it just me or do other people also face the same kind of problems? So I started talking with other people, and other people were saying, yeah I'm having a hard time focusing, people had various reasons.

And I decided to study this empirically. So back in 2004, I had a graduate student, Victor Gonzalez and we studied people using stopwatches. So, you would shadow people in a workplace. Every time they shifted their attention to a different screen, even when they shifted off screen, we would time with a stopwatch.

You're probably familiar with Frederick Taylor, right? We got our method from from Taylor, but Taylor's goal was to increase efficiency. Our intention was simply to observe people. At the time. In 2004, we found information averaged about two and a half minutes on a screen.

I was shocked, a lot of other people were shocked as well, but then, computer logging techniques came along quite sophisticated. We didn't have to follow people with stopwatches. We could log people's behavior unobtrusively with their consent, of course. And we found that the average time on a screen diminished over the years, and in the last six years, between around 2000, I would say 2015 2016.

Through 2019, it's averaged about 47 seconds on any screen before switching, and others have replicated this result within a few seconds. So it's short. And let me present the data to you a little bit differently. If you look at the median, which is the midpoint of our observations, the midpoint is 40 seconds.

That means half of all the observations that we collected show attention spans to be 40 seconds or less.

Jeff Hunt:

Amazing. When you think about it, 40 seconds is nothing.

Gloria Mark:


Jeff Hunt:

Wow, that's remarkable. And actually I love how you broke out your book. You basically have, the three parts, the anatomy of attention, and so you sort of go into the, the fundamentals of our attention and our cognitive resources and things.

And then you go into these forces of distraction, which are often so invisible, we don't even know it that our switching is decreasing. Our switching time is decreasing over the decades. And then lastly, the third part is really the opportunity to find focus and rhythm and balance in some of these tools and tips.

And so I'm really wanting to get into those. And before I do one other question about your career journey and sort of how you've arrived at where you are today. Was there any one person that that inspired you along the way that you can think of?

Gloria Mark:

One of the people who inspired me the most was Manfred Kochen, and he was a mathematician and an information scientist at University of Michigan. I did my master's there before I went to Columbia, and he inspired me in so many ways. And one way was that he gave me a chance because I applied for a job I needed to work.

So, I applied for a job as a research assistant, and he asked me whether I had all these skills, which I didn't. I couldn't code. I was coming from a fine art background and without finishing the conversation, I just picked up my backpack and started to walk out, and he stopped me. He said, wait a minute.

What can you do? And that question was probably one of the most important questions that I ever was asked. And I said, I can paint I can do art. And then he said, come back and sit down. And he said before he studied math at MIT, he took courses at the Art students league in New York and we talked about art for two hours and then he said I have a grant from the National Science Foundation to study the discovery process.

And research is a risk, and I'm willing to take a risk on you, do you think you could do it? And I thought, of course I know what discoveries are, I've been doing it in art, I've been talking with other artists. The problem was how to articulate it in terms that would be scholarly.

And so that's what got me on the path to psychology. But he was a very wise individual and I really learned a lot from him.

Jeff Hunt:

It's remarkable how one person with an open mind and a little curiosity can just change the trajectory of somebody's life. Right?

Gloria Mark:


Topic 2. The fallacy of multitasking (11:41)

Jeff Hunt:

Yeah. I love that. All right let's get into the weeds a little bit. One of the things that, I'm gonna pluck out a few things from your book, but one of the things that you talk about a lot is multitasking and basically, it's a fallacy, right? So why is multitasking a fallacy? Share a little bit about that.

Gloria Mark:

Sure. So, so we can unpack this. First of all, there's one fallacy, which is the idea that we can multitask and do two things simultaneously. It's just not humanly possible for people to do two effortful things at the same time. We just can't do that if one of these activities doesn't require effort.

Then we can do it automatically like walking, or we can drive and have a conversation with someone. But as soon as that car swerves in front of you, all of a sudden your attention is directed to it. It becomes effortful and you stop talking. So, this is what happened so that's a fallacy.

Number two there's this fallacy that when we multitask, we can do work. So, even though people, they're not doing two things at the same time, they're switching their attention rapidly and they believe they're doing more, but we're actually doing less in, in the following ways. First of all performance suffers. Performance takes longer. Every time you switch your attention there's a switch cost. Here's how I can explain it with a metaphor. Imagine that you have this internal whiteboard in your mind and every time you go to a new task, whatever that task is, you have to erase what your thinking is of the last thing you did, and you have to write a new representation.

So if I’m writing, which I do in my professional lot. So, I'm writing, I have a representation of what am I writing about, what's the structure of what I'm writing, what's the topic, what kind of language do I want to use? And then suddenly I switch to email. I have to erase that topic of writing, and I have start, I have to start thinking about the emails.

Who is this sender? What am I being tasked to do? And then here's another sender. What's my task? And you go through those emails, maybe I have this new goal, which is to try to delete as many emails as I can, and then I will switch away from email. Typically, we don't switch back to our task that we were interrupted with.

Very typically we'll switch to something else, but every time we switch, we have to erase that whiteboard and rewrite on it. And sometimes just like with a real whiteboard, you can't erase things clearly, and you leave a residue, and that can happen to us as well. So, if you're reading a gripping news story we recently had a horrific story in the news this, just as last weekend.

That story can stay with you and interfere with your task at hand. With multitasking, performance suffers. Another thing we know is that people make more errors when they multitask. We know this from decades of laboratory studies. We know this from real world studies, studies of physicians, nurses, pilots.

They make more errors when they switch their attention. And then last, which is probably the worst thing. Is that our stress increases and we know that blood pressure rises. This has been shown in laboratory studies. There's a physiological marker in the body that indicates we have stress.

I've done research where people wear heart rate monitors, and we see this correlation that when attention switching increases, as we see from our computer locks, we match that with the timestamp of the heart rate monitors, and we see that stress increases. And then when people are asked about their perceived stress, they report feeling stressed.

After a day of rapid switching, we wonder why we feel exhausted. It's because all this is going on behind the scenes and we're not really giving ourselves time to pause and replenish, which I imagine we'll talk about in a little.

Jeff Hunt:

Yes, exactly. And it's interesting too because we'll come home and we're exhausted and we're not quite sure why. But what you're saying is it's related to multitasking often, and then we might plop down on the couch and turn on Netflix, but then also not realize that those jump cuts have reduced in time. So now, instead of in a 10-minute span I'm viewing a lot more different cuts within a movie than I did 10, 15, 20 years ago, right? So that's further creating problems for my attention span.

Gloria Mark:

That’s right, we don't realize that, but shot lengths of film and TV have decreased to an average of four seconds. And if you happen to watch a blockbuster film that's even shorter, or people who watch music videos, I think the average is about two seconds. And everything has become much shorter. And I noticed that when I feel stressed, and I might be looking at a tv, it really disturbs me to watch these rapid shifts.

Topic 3. The problems of multitasking and the benefits of monotasking (17:37)

Jeff Hunt:

It's interesting too, because it feels in many organizations, like there's an expectation that employees will multitask. If somebody is working on a particular project and then there's a new priority, or they have something else that also needs attention, there's the expectation on that employee that they're going to get both things done when what you're saying is.

When they are switching, they're having to erase that whiteboard. And then what I'm also hearing you say, Gloria, is that not only they are they erasing the whiteboard in their brain, but after they erase that whiteboard, they may have to run over to another whiteboard that's far away. And so there's this time, this switching time that's associated with it as well.

Gloria Mark:

That's right. Yeah. There's so much going on and when we have so many demands on us in the workplace, and we often feel compelled to respond to the demands that other people put on us, why? Well, we're social beings. We trade in social capital. So, if someone asks me, can you take on this task?

I'm gonna say yes because at some time in the future, I expect you'll return the favor for me. So, we trade in these kinds of favors and social capital and it makes our lives a lot harder and we tend to get a lot more exhausted. And I should also mention that people by and large, prefer to do monotasking to work on one task through to completion.

We live and work in polychronic environments, so we're kind of a misfit in our environment and we have to react to the electronic communications and the associated tasks and information that are being sent us through.

Jeff Hunt:

Yeah. It reminds me of my father who passed away last year, actually. But he was a fine wood craftsman and he had a beautiful wood shop, and one of the things that I always appreciated when he was making something, whether it was a piece of furniture or a bowl that he used with turning a lathe.

There were steps in his process, and it was therapeutic for him because I think it allowed him to monotask. He could focus in on the specific part of that project and then move to the next part of the project and eventually develop something beautiful. But if he tried to cut the wood while he was also gluing a different segment, it's not gonna work out.

Gloria Mark:

Yeah. That's such a beautiful example of, uh, you know, and I've seen people who are ceramicists, right, who really have to focus on one thing and then they can move on to the next project. But we're not all so lucky to be wood workers or ceramicists.

Jeff Hunt:

Right, right. And so it sounds like you're saying that multitasking is really associated with negative emotions. If we do this too much, we're really gonna get burdened and feel stressed and feel more negative emotions, is that right?

Gloria Mark:

Yeah that's what the research shows in general. And we don't do ourselves favors by switching our attention so fast. But we're reinforced in doing it, often even by ourselves, because it turns out we're just as likely to interrupt ourselves as to be interrupted by something external to us.

Topic 4. Self-interruption and social media (21:15)

Jeff Hunt:

Let's talk about that. How is, how is this self-interruption? A culprit of distraction, like we usually think of other people interrupting ourselves, but how does that work?

Gloria Mark:

So, we first discovered this when we were observing people and they would be, say, typing on a Word document and for no explainable reason, they would suddenly stop what they were doing and check email or stop and pick up the phone. And so we started observing this, and then we started counting how many times this happened and how many times people were interrupted from something external, like a notification or phone call and that's what we discovered, how prevalent it was.

Jeff Hunt:

Interesting. Interesting. Okay. And so that's also true with our use of social media, isn't it? So we're involved with social media and we self-interrupt to move to something different.

Gloria Mark:

Yes that's right. There's a lot of reasons why people self-interrupt. They might have an urge to do something. They have a memory that they forgot to do something. In the book I write about Bluma Zeigarnik, who is probably the first person to study interruptions. And she did this back in the 1920s in Germany and she discovered that when people have a task that's unfinished, that's interrupted, they tend to remember it better than tasks that are finished.

And it makes a lot of sense because when something is finished, it's off your plate. And when something is interrupted, there's still work that needs to be done and it stays on the back burner of your mind and you keep, it keeps nagging you and when people self-interrupt, this is of course one, one reason because we have this nagging thing in our minds we can't get rid of about this task that we have to go back to this phone call.

We've haven't made, this email that we opened, but didn't aswer.

Jeff Hunt:

Mm-hmm. exactly. You have a great quote in your book, Gloria, from Herb Simon, who kind of captured the essential dilemma of our digital world, and the quote is, “A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and the need to allocate that attention efficiently”. What are your thoughts about that?

Gloria Mark:

Yeah, no, it's really a great quote. We're sitting in front. The world's largest candy store. It's probably no wonder that we self-interrupt because within milliseconds we can satisfy any curiosity that we have. So, a thought comes in your mind, you have some question and you can immediately just, Google it and find the answer.

So there, there's so much information available and yet it's so hard to focus on, single topics. It's so hard to keep our attention in check when there's so much information that dissipates our attention.

Topic 5. The 4 myths of using technology at work (24:33)

Jeff Hunt:

You mentioned also about the myths of using technology at work, kind of the four myths of using technology at work. Can you talk about that?

Gloria Mark:

Sure. So, one of the myths is that, and we hear about this in the public conversation is that it's so important to have sustained focus as long as possible. It's a good thing to have sustained focus but there, there are limits on what humans can do. And if we have sustained focus too long we get ourselves exhausted.

And I've fallen into that trap too many times. What we find in our research is that people instead have rhythms of when they have peak focused times during the day. And for most people it tends to be late morning and then again mid-afternoon between two and three. If you're an early type in your chronotype, your peak focus will be earlier.

If you're a late type, it's gonna be later, but we have these times when we really have a lot of attentional resources available, which corresponds to, we have an even flow of attentional resources and so the important takeaway here is to schedule your day so that you make use of those times.

When your attentional resources are at their peak when your focus is at its peak, and that's the time to do your hardest work, your most creative work, because that's when you've got the most energy to do it, and then you pull back, right? And then you do something that doesn't require so much effort. You get yourself replenished, and then you can dive in again and you will accomplish more when you pay attention to this personal rhythm.

And everyone has their own personal rhythm and you can become self-aware and get to know what your rhythm is. So that's one myth.

There's another myth, which is the idea that doing simple rote activities is just really bad for us. It doesn't accomplish anything. And I argue the opposite, that doing simple rote activities can be beneficial because it allows us to restore our attention.

So, what do we mean by simple rote activities? I write about the example of Maya Angelo. Who talked about having a big mind and a little mind, and her big mind was where she really did her deep focused thought her writing. And her little mind is when she would pull back and she did crossword puzzles, as a way to re help restore herself.

And I've talked to various people who do all kinds of things that allow them to, take a break it. To keep the mind lightly engaged, but not to put in a lot of mental effort. And it actually turns out that it tends to calm people. And our research shows people are happiest when they do these kinds of activities.

And do whatever works for you. I've talked to one person said he, he has a ball. He has this screen and he just likes to throw that ball against the screen, that works for him. Other people do knitting. My own preference is I have this this anagram game that I do, which, which is just relaxing for me.

I love anagrams, but the takeaway here is to be strategic, right? Of course, we'd love to do these mindless activities the whole day, but we can't, right? And we shouldn't. And so it's important to be strategic, to limit yourself to do it purposefully and intentionally, and the purpose is to replenish.

And to build back up our mental resources, take a break. And so, whatever it takes to set those limits, you can set a timer, I create what I call hooks. So, if I have 10 minutes before a meeting and I know it's gonna be a really difficult meeting I might just do something simple, a simple activity that just kind of relaxes me before that meeting.

So, of course, the best break of all is to go outside and walk in nature, jeff, you and I are so lucky. We live in California and we can easily do it. Not everyone has this opportunity. So even getting up, moving around is a really great break. But the important thing is to take breaks.

There is this concept. That's used in the design of Japanese gardens, and for that matter in the design of art, and I learned this when I was an artist, which is this idea of empty space or negative space. And when you schedule your day, think about designing your day and to design empty space into that day.

Empty space is what you use as a break, which you can use for contemplation. For those people who meditate, it's a great time to do it. Great time for taking a walk or even doing some road activity that works for you, but intentionally design that into your day.

Jeff Hunt:

I love that. And actually, it's so interesting because I run a software company and so we're constantly working on ways to make things cleaner and have more white space and have, because the more we can do that the better the user experience is, people don't get confused. There's not too much on the screen.

They know what to do and where to go without a lot of instruction or effort. And what you're saying is, it's really true in our lives as well. If we allow ourselves that margin to replenish, it's actually building us back up. It's not putting us behind, it's building us back up.

Gloria Mark:

That's right. And the software interface is such a great example of this. We can do more, right? When we have more resources and rather than, thinking about scheduling tasks back to back, to squeeze as much as possible into our day. Let's intentionally design some space into it, and we can be more efficient in the long run and produce more.

And I've learned this myself the hard way because I would just push myself to my limits and my work was just not the quality that it could have been had I, taken the time to have some contemplation, some empty space, and restore myself.

Topic 6. Meditation and mindfulness to improve our focus abilities (31:40)

Jeff Hunt:

Sure. Yeah. I'm reflecting on a previous episode where I interviewed an expert on the Enneagram. I'm not sure if you're familiar with the Enneagram, but I happen to be in Enneagram type three, which is called the achiever. And so this is my struggle, Gloria is every day setting aside that margin and taking my foot off the pedal.

So, that I can replenish and get outside and do these types of things. And so I really appreciate the reminder. And I was also gonna say one of the things that's worked well for me is actually a daily practice of meditation in some form. And I'm wondering if you can comment on that. Does meditation and mindfulness seem to help our ability to maintain focus, to improve rhythm and balance in our lives?

Gloria Mark:

So I also meditate and I started during the pandemic, my university offered a course in mindfulness-based stress reduction, and then I discovered that I could apply some of the ideas of mindfulness to helping myself stay more focused. And I call this meta-awareness, and it refers to being aware. of the thing you're doing as it's unfolding to become more aware.

And that's what mindfulness is about, is focusing on the present. And you know, a lot of times when we're distracted, whether it's from something external by looking at my phone or whether it's by in internally, something within ourselves that distracts us it's very important to understand the reasons.

Why we have these automatic actions? And they are automatic you can apply this notion of meta-awareness to make these automatic actions more conscious, to really be able to understand, I'm reaching for my phone, or I have this urge to go to social media, or I have this urge to read news.

And then you can start probing yourself. Why do I have that urge right now? Is it because I'm bored? Is it because I'm procrastinating? I just don't wanna do this task? And, and if you really understand the reasons for your distractions, you can act on them. And then you can say, what can I do to make this less boring?

Or maybe I'm distracted because I'm just tired and I need a break. And we do know from research that when people's mental resources are getting exhausted, they are more susceptible to distractions. We know that. And so if you really wanna have the best shield against being distracted, make sure you're replenished, you've got a full tank of resources and that's the best shield of all.

Jeff Hunt:

Right. And it's interesting because, we talk mostly on this show about making the workplace a better place for humans to operate and really, so many of the strategies you're talking about are applicable to each person, but they're also very beneficial for companies, isn't that correct?

Gloria Mark:

Absolutely, it's interesting because we did a study where we looked at people's facial expressions when they multitasked. So, we videotaped their facial expressions, and we applied emotion detection software, which is quite accurate at detecting emotions. And we find that when people multitask, the expressions on their face tend to show more anger, more negative emotions which I found fascinating.

And when you think about it in a workplace, we wear our emotions on our sleeves. A workplace is a very public environment. And when people are exhausted, then you see it in their faces and there can be contagion effects. And so, it is important that we think about this on a collective level.

It is an individual problem, it's a collective, it's an organizational problem as well.

Topic 7. The correlation between goal achievement and focus (36:05)

Jeff Hunt:

Before we shift into some lightning round questions, I have one more question for you really about goal achievement and attention and the correlation, with all of these tips and tools that you've shared with us so far, what is the correlation of our ability to maintain attention and focus and achieving goals?

Gloria Mark:

Oh the correlation is 100%. So, attention is goal oriented. We direct our attention according to what our goals are and our goals, if you have your goals in mind, they also shield you against distractions, right? As soon as our goals slip, then we're just open. We leave ourselves open to any kind of distraction.

Again, even within ourselves. So being goal oriented is, actually the best thing people can do for their attention. How do you do it? Well if you have to write it down and remind yourself. You can also set short-term goals. And if you really have this urge that or you're a person who has a tendency to be distracted, set yourself short-term goal.

Finish writing to the end of that chapter before you do something else, checking the news or whatever. But goals are very powerful. In fact we did some research. , which I also talk about in the book where we used a conversational bot software to query people about what their goals were for the day.

So, it was a way to remind people and we found that people stayed on task better when they had interaction with this conversational agent. Howeverwhat we learned is that people have to keep being reminded. So, it works in the short term, but we need constant reminders of what our goals are.

Jeff Hunt:

I love that. And I love the concept of having short-term goals because it's also more encouraging if I can complete a short-term goal on the way to a longer term or larger goal, I'm gonna stay more motivated. And I mean, that's one of the things our tools do is goal setting. We have an option of breaking out the goal into milestones, and then underneath milestones actually having tasks.

And the more granular you can be, the better off you are because it can, in our experience, support your research, which is basically keeping the attention and the focus at more of the macro, I mean the micro level in order to achieve the macro in the long run.

Topic 8. Lighting round questions (36:49)

Jeff Hunt:

All right, you ready for the lightning round?

Gloria Mark:

I'm ready.

Jeff Hunt:

All right. First question is, what are you most grateful for?

Gloria Mark:

I am most grateful for my family. I have a wonderful family and I am really grateful for them.

Jeff Hunt:

What's the most difficult leadership lesson you've learned over your career?

Gloria Mark:

Oh, wow. Probably not to understand enough what an individual's nature is, their personality is. I've mentored a number of students over the years, and I have to gear mentorship to the individual I can't have a one size fits all, and so I have to adapt my style to what that individual is.

Some people want more mentoring than others. For some, I have to learn when to pull back. For others, I have to learn when to be more hands-on. So, I would say the best lesson I've learned is to really pay attention to the individual and to understand what works best for them.

Jeff Hunt:

It's just such a good leadership lesson for everybody that's in a position of leadership. Who's one person you would interview if you could living or not?

Gloria Mark:

Probably Barack Obama because I think he has said a number of things that I just feel that I can be engaged in a really interesting conversation with him that at, on a deeper level you know, not just talking about news or politics, but I really feel like we could talk about some very deep things.

Jeff Hunt:

Now, you wrote a great book, but do you have a good book recommendation for our listeners? Are you reading anything or have you read something recently that you'd like to recommend?

Gloria Mark:

I've read a number of really great books this last year. The one that sticks in my mind is the most recent one I read, which is my Dinners with Ruth, which is written by Nina Totenberg, which writes about her relationship with Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It's just beautiful, beautiful book, and I just really enjoyed it.

Jeff Hunt:

Thank you. What is the best piece of advice you've ever received?

Gloria Mark:

This came from an art teacher that I had, and let me tell you the story that leads up to the advice. This was a class in drawing, abstract drawing. And basically what the class would do was we would create drawings and then we would put up our drawings on the wall for critique.

And I remember this Professor pointed to this one drawing, and it was terrible. It was so awful. And he said, who did this drawing? And nobody wanted to fess up nobody. And then finally, one person raised their hand. It wasn't me, and this professor said, congratulations, you had the courage to fail, and he said, all of these other drawings are terrible because they're too safe.

They didn't take any risks, and this person had the courage to fail. And what I learned from him that advice is you need the courage to fail.

Jeff Hunt:

Such great sage advice right there, for sure. So, I've loved our conversation. Let's take just a second if you would, to summarize the most important takeaways for our listeners.

Gloria Mark:

I would say the most important thing that we can think about is to reframe our thinking for when we use our technologies to think in terms of how we can achieve a positive wellbeing as opposed to just trying to push ourselves to be as productive as possible. When we have positive wellbeing, we can do more.

And it's proven. There's a psychological theory called the broaden and build theory that shows when people feel positive, they can accomplish more, they can generate better ideas and more ideas, they can do more. But when we try to, Cram in as much as possible and, with this idea that we're going to be as productive as possible we're not thinking about our wellbeing, so let's put our wellbeing first.

And, we live in a technological world that the ship has sailed. We can't go back. So let's figure out what we can do in this world. And have positive wellbeing and I'm very optimistic that we can.

Jeff Hunt:

That's such a great invitation, and Gloria, thank you for writing a wonderful book and for coming on my show and for sharing all of this great wisdom with our listeners.

Gloria Mark:

Thank you so much. I appreciate your having me as a guest.

Outro (41:57)

Closing music jingle/sound effects

Jeff Hunt:

Thanks for listening to Human Capital, if you like this show please tell your friends and also take the time to go rate and review us. Human Capital is a production of GoalSpan, your integrated source for performance management. Now go out and be the inspiration to other humans, and thank you for being human kind.

Human Capital — Your Attention at Work (Replay)
replay15 play_circle_filled pause_circle_filled replay15