NBA superstar Steph Curry is an elite athlete who inspires with his actions on and off court, most often as a role-model athlete under the bright lights. And believe it or not, he can even help crazy-busy entrepreneurs (and all of us) remember how to live in the moment.
Curry has a pregame ritual he shares with his wife--and it's pretty cool.
Steph will motion to his wife, Ayesha, flash a tattoo on his arm to her, and then pat it. She has the same tattoo and then returns the gesture. The matching tats are written in Hebrew and translate to "Love never fails."
The Currys explained their routine in an interview with Parents magazine, in which Steph said:
"I have to show it. This signifies that the past is behind us and the future is in front of us, so we stay right in the middle, in the moment. I do a little sign and I smack my tattoo and she does the same right before the game."
The ritual keeps him grounded and connected to something much more important than a game, and as Ayesha added, "It's a reminder for him to have fun. His job should be fun, and I never want him to forget that."
Wow--so even one of the game's best players on the best team, who is adored by millions, needs reminders to stay present, connected, and to have fun?
I guess there's hope for me after all.
This peak behind the Curry curtain is a great lesson for us all to put in place our own mechanisms for staying present in the moment, no matter what we do for a living. Here are a few ways to do just that.
Accept that multitasking is a myth.
We sacrifice our power of full presence when we're multitasking. Forget for a moment that it can be incredibly rude, we're not actually accomplishing what we think we are--we're fooling ourselves.
Earl Miller, a professor of neuroscience at MIT, says we simply can't focus on more than one thing at a time.
But what we can do is shift our focus from one thing to the next with astonishing speed. Says Miller, "Switching from task to task, you think you're actually paying attention to everything around you at the same time. But you're actually not." The brain is forced to switch among multiple cognitive tasks as these tasks use the same part of the brain.
The catch here is that this task-switching, despite how fast it occurs, is incredibly unproductive in reality--I mean like social-networking unproductive. In fact, estimates say up to 40 percent of productivity could be lost due to task-switching. It actually takes more time to complete the tasks you're switching between, and you make more errors than when you focus on doing one task at a time.
The key is to accept the fact that multitasking produces the illusion of productivity.
Catch the drift.
I don't mean make sure you understand, although that's always good. I mean make a point to notice when your attention is drifting. Excuse yourself and admit where you are mentally if you have to--faking it is frustrating for you, and people will see through it.
Write yourself simple reminders to stay present like "Don't zone out, zone in," or "Be mindful, not mind full," or "Run your mind, don't let it run you." Any time you catch yourself drifting, ask yourself, "What has my attention right now?" (This one works wonders for me.)
When frazzled, freeze.
It's so easy to zone out when you're tired, like when you're running into your sixth back-to-back meeting. If you find yourself in this spot, don't let that next meeting get started without freezing for a moment.
Ask for a pause, go get a drink of water and clear your head, or go check your lotto numbers for that matter. Assuming you didn't win, you're then ready to return to work--armed with a little mental stamina boost.
If you're starting to feel burned out, end the previous meeting a bit early to allow space to recharge. If you don't, once that next meeting starts, you'll quickly fall behind, and it's hard to catch up without alerting everyone to the fact that you haven't been paying attention.
You can also plan these breathers by putting space on your calendar in between meetings. As I discovered, the space between your ears will be more engaged in the long run for it.
So yes, we all need reminders to "stay in the game" every now and then. But finding the right ones means your presence will be more of a present.