Affect, Productivity, Recent Article, Self-awareness

Focus series: focus is a Process

The ability to focus is about to become more important than ever. The world is changing. Within ten years, thanks to new technologies, jobs, livelihoods, and the way we engage with the world will be unlike anything we know now. As will the skills needed to negotiate it. In a 2015 report on Australia’s future workforce prepared by CEDA (Committee for Economic Development in Australia) found that 5 million jobs that exist now will be gone in 10 years—most losses due to automation.  And to think, we’re already two years down the track.   To remain valuable in our economy … you must master the art of quickly learning complicated things.    ~ Cal Newport, Author of Deep Work   You’ve heard the words before … ‘Get on with it! Concentrate.’ The core problem is many of us don’t know how. We weren’t taught the how. It was just assumed…

Affect, Recent Article

Book summary – The Affect theory reader

The Affect Theory Reader, released 2010, is edited by Melissa Gregg and Gregory J.Seigworth. A collection of essays, the volume aims to contribute to the field of affect studies and theories.   I have to admit when I stumbled over this book and added it to my To Be Read list, I was very excited. As someone who is keen to explore where and how affect, productivity, self-awareness and spirituality intersect, this is just the type of book I would expect to explore these four elements and how they mesh. I called out to the book: ‘bring it on!’ Things began well. For instance, I loved this line about ‘in-between-ness’ from the opening paragraph…   Books of this type can usually be relied upon to include vivid essays, which promote deep thought or inspiration. Perhaps time is a factor (The Affect Theory Reader was published seven years ago), but I…

Affect, Recent Article, Self-awareness

Focus series: Once upon an Affect

Once upon a time… April thinks back to the first time she consciously linked emotions to performance—to her ability to focus on the task in front of her. It was senior year; she was sitting down to block exams. First up? The Ancient History final; which is worth a considerable percentage of the final grade. Hold up! Have you ever sat down to slog through a tough problem at work or sit an exam and wondered what the hell you were doing?  Have you ever sat down and thought, god, I’m just not smart enough to do this? A clever person would have figured this out already because smart people know how to concentrate. Smart people focus. Me too. I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember being taught how to focus at school, at University, or at work. The expectation was simply that you could.  And would. Hats off…

Affect, Best of Blog, Self-awareness

When intent goes wrong…

Standing towards the end of the winding driveway of dirt, surrounded by sugarcane, the girl called out, excited. Laughter tumbled down the slope from the verandah to her right. Startled, she looked up towards the house, and taking in six astonished adult expressions—one still mid-guffaw—realised she’d said the wrong thing. Energy leached her length, down into the ground, only to be chewed and churned by the station wagon still rumbling towards her. The arm raised into the air in greeting wilted, abruptly lethargic. Air turned to acid reflux in her chest. The girl’s twelve-year-old self had never felt so vulnerable. Or so foolish. As humans, we are unequivocally creative beings. We make music. Art. We tell stories around campfires or from behind a computer; tell lies and  speak our version of the truth. We each build memories and fabricate happenstance. We are the heirs to our inventive spirits; cast into shape. In that moment, I created a…

Affect

Which comes first? Affect or unconscious intention?

For many of us, affect and intention feel a bit like a chicken and egg scenario. Affect. Intention. I feel. I want. Feel. Want. We seem to flip backwards and forwards between these two realms without much conscious thought. Sages and scientists have been asking questions about unconscious and conscious controls, the inputs and impacts since someone first thought to ask the question—and regardless of research trends. The field has historically been full of complexity and opinion, and just when we think we have the mind figured out, each one of us realises we are just starting on the learning journey. Despite the complexity, I believe understanding how these two work is fundamental to spiritual growth. Affect and Intention. Let’s look at psychological affect for a moment. Understanding affect is important because it has such an impact on our day to day lives. Positive or negative, emotion floods our system, and we become…

Affect, Best of Blog, Spiritual

Affect. Why it’s important to spiritual growth

Psychological affect. What is it exactly? There’s so much debate. Does it include attitude, mood, emotion? The Oxford Dictionary would say yes, but if you want to cultivate a deeper understanding, over the years you will notice there’s been significant disagreement between scholars. Does affect include cognition or does it happen independently? Is it an unconscious and biological process occurring without awareness, until suddenly we find ourselves could in its grip? Or is it something different? It’s tough to find a good definition.   Defining affect I don’t profess to be an expert in psychology, but probably the best explanation I’ve discovered was constructed by Eric Shouse and comes from his article, Feeling, Emotion, Affect (2005) when he defines affect as ‘a non-conscious experience of intensity; it is a moment of unformed and unstructured potential’ (1). He goes on to describe affect as ‘the body’s way of preparing itself for…