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BELMONT ABBEY COLLEGE REACTS TO NEW HHS MANDATE RULES

BELMONT, N.C. (August 22, 2014) — Private, non-profit, Catholic College, Belmont Abbey the first to sue regarding the HHS mandate, today announced its reaction to the new HHS Mandate Rules that create a new way for non-profit organizations like Belmont Abbey College to state their objections to the HHS required coverage.

The new rule announced today allows non-profits to notify the Department of Health and Human Services of their objections to specific coverage like contraception or abortifacients. The federal government will then contact insurers and third-party administrators to provide the coverage.

“We are still reviewing this new rule but we are hopeful that this is a move in the right direction and that the final rule will protect our conscientious objection rights and fully restore our religious liberty,’ said Belmont Abbey College president Dr. William K. Thierfelder. “We remain concerned that the new rule is still a modification of the “accommodation”, and still requires the provision of the objectionable coverage.”

The Beckett Fund who represents Belmont Abbey College in its suit against the federal government regarding its mandate had this to say: “This is latest step in the administration’s long retreat on the HHS Mandate. It is the eighth time in three years the government has retreated from its original, hard-line stance that only “houses of worship” that hire and serve fellow believers deserve religious freedom. We look forward to reviewing the new rule and its implications for the 102 cases.”

Belmont Abbey filed the first lawsuit against the HHS mandate on November 10, 2011 and refiled their lawsuit on November 20, 2013. The case is currently stayed and awaiting decision from other cases in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Friday, August 22, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized||

From Dublin to Rome: Maggie's Summer Abroad


Rome

An Abbey Honors Tradition

The Bishop Pilla Summer Institute is a program that many Honors students eagerly await from the beginning of their academic journey at the Abbey. After six semesters of hearing about the grand European adventures from the previous Honors Institute classes, the anticipation of this exciting voyage finally became a reality. Having experienced this five and a half week program for ourselves, we can join the classes before us in attesting to the camaraderie, cultural learning, and deepened faith that ensues when traveling as an Honors class.

A few days before our departure, Dr. Eugene Thuot set up a video chat with our Bishop Pilla program guides. Amidst the pressing responsibilities of finals week, there was much on everyone’s academically frenzied minds; but, when we heard Dr. Luigi Ferri’s Italian accent over the video chat, our nervous concentration on exams was, for a moment, replaced by enthusiasm for our European expedition.

On the Road to Dublin

With final exams finished and final papers trailing behind, we all met at the Charlotte airport to begin a journey that still seemed surreal. In Canada, we met our enthusiastic Italian language professor, Dr. Casciani, as we waited for the flight that would take us to Dublin, Ireland. When we arrived in Dublin, we met our Italian Literature professor, Dr. Ferri, and the John Carroll University students with whom we would take classes, go on tours and socialize in our free time.

Because the Irish professor who was initially going to introduce us to Ireland was not able to join us, a John Carroll philosophy professor, Dr. Wirkus, generously agreed to come last minute and introduce us to James Joyce’s Dubliners. We had many involved class discussions regarding the themes of identity and exile, which would be applied to everything we would read in class thereafter as well as everything we would see on our tours.

Honors students gather for one last picture together before leaving Dublin, Ireland.

I-rish I Was in Dublin…

Dublin presented much in the way of culture, as we took group excursions through the city in the daytime, visiting the places that inspired Joyce in his stories, and passing through Trinity College, which houses sections of the renowned Book of Kells. The students, occasionally accompanied by Dr. Ferri, would frequent the local pubs in the evening, fulfilling the important cultural tradition of tasting Guinness, as we took in the lively scenery of exceptional Irish dancing and Irish music performances.

We were given a day to explore on our own, in which some went to visit a castle, others familiarized themselves more with Dublin city, and the small group I joined took a bus to Glen de Lough, where we hiked for about five hours in the chilly, yet breath-taking Irish mountains. In the famed song “Molly Malone,” Dublin is described as “fair”; however, if I had to portray my impression of Dublin in three descriptions, I would say Dublin is: rainy, infused with hidden beauties and historically rich.

Manila 2

A Luxurious Stay in Milan

Following our introductory week in Dublin, we departed for many new adventures in Italy, beginning in Milan. Our stay in Milan was quite luxurious. We shared hotel “rooms” which in some cases were more like little apartments.

Every morning, we were offered a buffet of gourmet foods in the hotel’s fancy restaurant before beginning our morning classes. We were given some free time between morning and afternoon classes, in which we could eat lunch and relax. In the evening, after more free time, we would gather again for a bountiful dinner of several courses.

During our stay in Milan, we took several day trips to other places, as well. We followed James Joyce’s life to Trieste, where Joyce and Svevo became friends. Our guide took us on a tour from the Svevo museum to sections of Trieste that were relevant to Joyce’s life.

One of the most interesting sites was an opera house that Joyce went to thirty nights in a row in order to gain a more detailed sense of humanity for the realistic qualities of his writings. We also took a boat ride on Lake Como, where we were surrounded by vast mountains, encountering some movie history as we passed by the place in which the original 007 series was filmed. Of course, we could not leave Milan without having seen Leonardo Davinci’s famous painting, “The Last Supper.”

Milan was a place of unity for the Honors students because amidst the excitement of traveling to new places, we strove to keep in mind the message of our college, “That in all things God may be glorified.” Almost every evening, we would join together, either in the hotel or sitting by the pond with turtles and black swans, to pray and reflect on the psalms. As we studied about exile and identity, we were traveling in a place where the language and culture was unfamiliar to us. At the end of the day we were still able to find that element which joins all people – that we are all children of God.

Inside an Italian Basilica

The Adventures of Arezzo

Leaving the black swans of Milan, we moved on to the adventures of Arezzo. Arezzo was the first place where the students were able to put what they had learned of the Italian language course to use. We stayed in a more modern part of Arezzo, but a short walk from our hotel took us under the arches that revealed an older section which harbored many churches, shops and sculptures. Apart from old architecture and delicious gelato shops, the old section of Arezzo harbored an awe-inspiring overlook of far-off mountains, which seemed to be common to nearly every place we visited in Italy.

Similar to Milan, our stay at Arezzo was sprinkled with adventures to other places. We took a bus to Siena where we were given five hours to explore in our own little groups. Siena was a lot more tourist-oriented than I had anticipated, but there were so many hidden away places, like the aqueduct we found and the museum of St. Catherine of Siena’s home.

The city had a very artistic and lively feel, with street musicians playing jazz music and a sidewalk artist who reminded me of the sidewalk artist/chimney sweep, Bert, in the movie “Mary Poppins.” There was also an opportunity for peaceful reflection, as there seemed to be a church at nearly every other corner, including a massive cathedral that displayed some of the most intricate of Siena’s architecture.

Dante and David in Florence

San Pelegrino Hermitage
The day following our trip to Siena, we caught a train to Florence, where we were overwhelmed by the beautiful architecture. We hiked up a large set of stairs as a group to get a view of Florence. We could see Il Duomo on the horizon, where we would later visit. We were given time to explore for ourselves before we met again on a tour. Some went straight to the market and others wandered through the city.

My friends and I went into the church that Dante frequented, which was incredible because we had just taken an Honors course entirely on the subject of Dante’s Divine Comedy. We went inside the museum that held Michelangelo’s “David” and spent a long time taking everything in. Arezzo, Siena and Florence were all very different places, which contributed to our reflection on the meaning of identity.

Florence 1

“I felt the most free in Abruzzo”

The next series of adventures was to be experienced in the countryside of Abruzzo, where we stayed for two weeks. Looking back, it is very difficult to say which place was my absolute favorite, but I can say that I felt the most free in Abruzzo.

Because of our more lengthy stay, we shared bungalows, which instigated a deep sense of camaraderie through cooking, running, game nights of Charades and Catch Phrase, star gazing and adventuring through the countryside. We walked a mile every morning to class on a street lined with a menagerie of wild flowers. We frequently took that time of transit to pray together, talk, and sing.

Pescara, Italy

The highlight of Abruzzo for me was the opportunity to explore the beauty of Italy’s great outdoors. One of the most memorable group adventures was the first hike we took, to see the massive cross that Dr. Casciani and her family placed on the top of the mountain when she was ten years old. Provided with sandwiches and water bottles, all the students piled into the back of a big van, as we were driven part of the way up the mountain.

The travel to the cross was steep, but so beautiful. At the top, we ate and silently appreciated our surroundings for a while, until it was time to descend the slope. Not only was the mountain’s view pleasing, but the fragrance of wild thyme also awakened our sense of smell.

We later traveled to L’Aquila where Dr. Casciani took us on a tour around her home city. The destruction from the 2009 earthquake forced many people out of their homes, but we saw the persevering spirit of the city still present. A Renaissance fair was taking place, with flag throwing and drum-beating. We could hear the instruments playing as we waited inside a church to have Mass with an Archbishop, an old friend of Dr. Casciani’s. At Dr. Casciani’s request, the students provided music for the Mass.

Banner in St. Peter's Square

Cooking, Culture, and Castles

Over the following days of our stay in Abruzzo we made gnocchi and tiramisu with the teachers and embarked on several traveling expeditions. First, we visited Pietrantonj’s Winery in Pescina, where we were able to experience Europe in a particularly sophisticated setting. We were given a tour through the winery, and given a chance to learn about different wines in a wine tasting.

We experienced more culture the next day when we visited Benedictine churches in Bominaco. We also walked to the castle in Bominaco, at the top of which we relaxed while eating bread and salami. We encountered many beautiful mountain views throughout our journey, but just as I encounter a sunrise every morning and never tire of it, these views never ceased to amaze me.

Making the most of the time we had in Italy, we took another hike the next day to the hermitage of San Bartolomeo. Instead of seeing the mountains from a distance, we were literally in the midst of the mountains. After the hike, we celebrated by eating a carton of cherries, having a cherry pit spitting contest. After driving in the bus a little more, we stopped for gelato to celebrate again.

After all the mountains we had encountered, we changed scenery, traveling to a beach in Pescara. We made a sand fortress, ate gelato, and some people even kicked a soccer ball back and forth. We enjoyed our day of recreation.

Gelato 1

A Roman Holiday

Saying good bye to Abruzzo, we arrived in Rome for the most intense part of our trip. In this last week, we adventured as much as we could, despite frequent rainstorms. On one of our tours in particular, when we set out to walk to a Jewish museum and synagogue nearby a particularly powerful deluge spilled down. Even in “La Tempesta di Roma,” as we named it, no amount of rain could dampen our joy, for the rain provided yet another occasion to vocalize “Singing in the Rain” and other tunes.

Amidst tours to the Coliseum, the Pantheon, and other places, we woke up early one morning to get front row seats in the Papal audience. Later, some of the students even got the chance to go to a Papal Mass.

One of my favorite moments in the trip to Rome came when a student in our group set up a Mass for us in the crypt of St. Peter’s. Once again, we were asked to provide the music of the Mass, but this time, The Belmont Abbey Honors students were the only ones in the small room. This particular Mass felt like the epitome of our spiritual union during our voyage.



At the end of the trip, we were permitted three days during which people could pursue their own interests. Some made pilgrimages to specific churches, others traveled in small groups to Assisi, and still others leisurely went through shops in Rome, finding last minute souvenirs for themselves and their loved ones. Rome was an amazing place to end our adventure, not only because it reemphasized to us our faith, which is the center of our lives, but Rome left us hungry to continue our journey in other places, seeking the Good, the True and the Beautiful.

Excellence and Virtue, Joy and Song

Because of the foundational years as Belmont Abbey Honors Students, we were prepared to experience the Bishop Pilla program with the mindset to strive for and draw others to that excellence and virtue which is the heart and purpose of our college. What the Bishop Pilla Program offered to us, besides an amazing opportunity to learn about other cultures first-hand, was that we were able to further develop our identity as a class.

Through camaraderie, we learned we are a group of individuals who are thoughtful, faith-filled, and human, with an ever-present sense of joy in our hearts, displayed particularly through song.

Mary Margaret Gallaher is an Honors Institute Student of the Belmont Abbey College class of 2015. She wrote these memoirs after participating in the 2014 Honors Study Abroad program.

Have class, will travel.

A Summer Well Spent

Tuesday, August 5, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized||

Class of 2018 – Crusader Preview Day

We loved having so many from the Class of 2018 on campus for Crusader Preview Day last weekend! We look forward to seeing y’all in the Fall.

Monday, April 28, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized||

The Golden LEAF Foundation Awards Scholarships Through North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities

Raleigh, NC, April 23, 2014 – The Golden LEAF Foundation awarded $210,000 to North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities that was distributed among NCICU’s member colleges for the 2013-2014 academic year.

The Golden LEAF Foundation has partnered with North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities to provide scholarship support for 12 years.  During this time, the Foundation has contributed more than $6 million, helping over 1,200 students attend North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities. Students are eligible for $3,000 per year.  Recipients of the Golden LEAF Scholarships must reside in rural counties that are tobacco-dependent or economically distressed.  The overall goal of the program is that these students will return home after receiving their degree and help their rural communities.

“The Golden LEAF Foundation is committed to building the talent, knowledge and skill of North Carolina students,” said Dan Gerlach, Golden LEAF president. “The Golden LEAF Scholarship program assists in providing the vital funds needed for a quality education, and therefore, helps level the playing field for economic success in our rural, tobacco-dependent and economically distressed communities.”

Hope Williams, president of North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities expressed deep appreciation to the Golden LEAF Foundation.  “The Golden LEAF Scholarships are critical to providing college access for rural North Carolinians.  Most of these scholarship recipients are first-generation college students, so attending college on a small campus with individual attention can play an important role in their overall success and to their graduation from college.”

About the Golden LEAF Foundation:

The Golden LEAF Foundation is a nonprofit organization established in 1999 to help transform North Carolina’s economy. The foundation receives one-half of North Carolina’s funds from the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement with cigarette manufacturers and places special emphasis on assisting tobacco-dependent, economically-distressed and/or rural communities across the state. The Golden LEAF Foundation works in partnership with governmental entities, educational institutions, economic development organizations and nonprofits to achieve its mission. The foundation has awarded 1,248 grants totaling more than $548 million since its inception. The Golden LEAF Foundation has awarded more than $29 million for scholarships to over 12,000 students from rural North Carolina, since its inception. Scholarships are available to students attending North Carolina Community Colleges, North Carolina public universities and North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities.  For more information about Golden LEAF visit www.goldenleaf.org.

About North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities:

The mission of North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities is to support, represent, and advocate for North Carolina independent higher education.   NCICU is comprised of North Carolina’s 36 private, non-profit liberal arts, comprehensive, and research colleges and universities accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges – including Belmont Abbey College. NCICU represents independent higher education in the areas of state and federal public policy and on education issues with the other sectors of education in the state. We also provide research and information to and about private colleges and universities, conduct staff development opportunities, and coordinate collaborative programs.  The Independent College Fund of North Carolina, a subsidiary of NCICU raises scholarship and other funding through state and national philanthropic communities to support students attending independent colleges and universities.  To help defray administrative costs, NCICU, in some cases, may receive a modest amount of funds under agreements made with participating companies or may accept sponsorships of meetings or other events.  For more information, visit www.ncicu.org.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized||

Play is Universal and Unifying

When you think about play, what comes to mind? Maybe you think about little kids running around playing a game, or your own memories of playing with friends or in team sports.

Recently I was interviewed by Blake Hodge with the North Carolina News Network, and we talked a lot about play. Every human being plays, and sport is one form of play that we all can share. We are so wired to play that we’re willing to pay to watch other people do it!

On a deeper level, there’s much more to sport and play than the game-to-game life. Play is like wisdom. It’s contemplation of higher things and done for its own end, not for some other reason. That’s part of what attracts us to sport. We are drawn to excellence, we love watching sports highlight reels of incredible plays. When we watch a world class athlete perform, it makes us wonder on a higher level how we were made to do something this awesome.

Sport can unify. For example, if you’re at a baseball game you’re not thinking about who the person sitting next to you voted for in the last election. You’re simply enjoying a common experience. Think about all the times a sporting event has brought people together after tragedy, including 9/11, Hurricane Katrina or a Red Socks game after the Boston Marathon bombing.

Blake asked how sports can be used to advance social issues. What this brought to mind was the Olympics. I was in the Olympics trials myself in 1980 when I learned the U.S. had boycotted the Moscow Games. The history of the Olympic Games has a number of examples of countries protesting or boycotting over social issues, including the upcoming Sochi, Russia Games. It’s the nature of politics to use such high profile events as a platform because sport is such a universal commonality.

When we watch athletes who compete and perform at the highest levels we can enjoy the experience as if we’re playing ourselves. Too often the focus on the negative aspects of sports, but it doesn’t have to be that way. If your perspective is on sport for the pure joy of play, it is easier to focus on the virtues instead of the sensational, negative aspects.
Wednesday, January 22, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized||

Do the intangibles in sport offer an advantage or disadvantage?

Are there intangibles that can give a player or team an edge? I recently spoke with Greg DePalma on Prime Sports Radio about what makes world-class athletes stand apart. Our conversation included a couple of interesting exchanges on intangible factors that can impact performance.

I told Greg about an NFL wide receiver I worked with who would shout a big-bomb word if he dropped the ball in practice. His emotions would run high in the moment, and he didn’t see that the negative outburst was a distraction. When he was cursing and kicking the ground, he lost that precious fraction of a second where he could reflect on why he dropped the ball – making him more likely to drop the ball again for that very same reason.

Watching him run a play, I noticed he didn’t always snap his head around to look for the ball. Sometimes he would bring his head around slowly, blurring his view. Once he focused on that specific skill, his performance improved. Instead of being distracted by negative emotion, I coached this athlete to focus on gratitude in the moment, to be thankful in all things, whether he caught the ball or not.

Greg also asked for my thoughts on University of Texas football coach, Mack Brown, who is stepping down after 16 years coaching the Longhorns. His last game will be the Alamo Bowl against the University of Oregon, a strong opponent that is favored to win. Greg asked if Texas has an advantage because they want a win for their coach in his last game.

In the case of the Texas players, their emotion will be evident. Especially at the beginning of the game, they will really be going for it. Will it lead to better performance? Maybe in the short term, but that can only carry them so far. They will have to maintain focus for the entire game. In the end, intangibles such as emotion even out and the better team will win. The better team is the one that can overcome distractions and maintain focus through shifts in momentum.

What makes a world class performer stand out is the ability to focus on the task at hand. Losing focus for even a split second can make the difference in winning or losing. There will always be distractions, the key is to maintain focus and allow your mind, body and spirit to work together towards the goal.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized||

Relationships are Not a Numbers Game

Sometimes, people tend to think of relationships, especially marriage, as a 50/50 effort or a business partnership. Instead of being flexible and willing to lean in more so here or there when meeting in the middle just isn’t happening, we tend to think, “You do your part, and I’ll do my part.” This rarely works, or endures for that matter. And when it doesn’t, we end up feeling let down or disappointed.

This 50/50 mindset isn’t a sound way to live as one, or both of you, at times will not be able to give 100 percent to the other. Life happens, dates get canceled, work trips come up and we aren’t perfect. Our numbers are skewed, and as a result we develop false expectations of both our spouse and ourselves. What if instead, we adopted a 100/100 model in which we each made the commitment to give all of ourselves to the other – without counting the cost?

In the 50/50 model, your chances of reaching a full 100 percent are less likely than with the 100/100 model as it leaves room for overlap if one (or both) of you is having a bad day. In order to have a happy, lasting relationship with someone who will endure the trials and tribulations of life, it’s important to be willing to give 100 percent to your spouse without reservation and expectations.

You can’t just give or take. It has to be both. The reason most marriages fail is because they are entered into with the mindset of a business partnership, in which each agrees to contribute part of themselves. A successful marriage begins with the commitment to give all you have and expect nothing in return.

If you love someone, you don’t count the cost, you just love them. This is not easy, but with humility, gratitude and sacrifice – which is love – you will gladly do it. Choose to give yourself because you believe it’s the right thing to do, not because you will get something back in return. If you are looking for a return on investment, go to the stock market, not to those you love. 
Wednesday, January 8, 2014|Categories: Uncategorized||

Embrace Change Through Understanding its Process

Most of us don’t like change. We seem to like it even less if it means changing something about ourselves. We usually try to avoid change altogether because it will cost us something: time money, energy, comfort, or more. And even when we know deep down that it may be for the greater good, we still can’t help but cringe at the thought of change. 

But what happens when the game, or even a life or business situation, isn’t going your way? Most likely, if our current efforts aren’t working in the heat of a game, we change our plays to employ a new strategy. The same is helpful in all facets of life – if it’s not working, change it.

Similar to the philosophy behind Pascal’s Wager, either change and possibly win or do nothing and lose. By understanding the process of change while strengthening your will to overcome your resistance to it, you will minimize the pain and eliminate the procrastination that often stops you from changing when you know it’s for the best. Here’s a roadmap on the process of change from “Less Than A Minute To Go”:

* Fear and anxiety: Change begins in your mind, but how does your mind do it? What enables your mind to figure things out and take the proper action? The first steps we take toward change often involve trying something new. Sometimes, we struggle with fear, in this case an emotion based on the false belief that something bad or uncomfortable is going to result from change. This is the reason for our resistance, or even the decision to stop change from happening entirely. This is why knowledge and reason are helpful.

* Knowledge and reason: Knowledge is simply the mental process of being aware of something and comparing or connecting it to something else. Reason is how you make good use of what you know. It enables you to infer and arrive at a sound conclusion by seeing the connection between one premise and another that you already know to be true. With these two components, you are prepared to act – “I know what it takes: this is reasonable. It’s safe. I can do this. I will do this.”

* The will to pursue: Even if you’re willing to enter the uncarted waters of change, it doesn’t mean it will be easy. When you are faced with an endless stream of negative thoughts, it’s not the one drop of water that gets you soaked, but rather the sudden downpour of a million droplets. In the same way, it’s not the one negative thought that holds you back so much as the endless harangue. The answer – exercise your will to pursue and persevere positive change.

No matter how difficult the circumstance, if you have the knowledge of what is objectively true, use your reason to make good use of what you know and exercise your will to put reason into action. It begins with the first small step, and then the next, and the next, and so on until you are doing what you know is true and right. If negative thoughts creep in along the way that preoccupy and distract you, remember who’s in charge and don’t sign for them.

Monday, December 23, 2013|Categories: Uncategorized||

The Cost of the Super Bowl Leads to a Conversation on Virtue

Super Bowl XLVIII will cost approximately $70 million. When viewing sports through the lens of history – originating in the form of competitive play – it’s amazing how over time we have structured play into an industry garnering billions of dollars each year.  

Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Is spending an exorbitant amount of money on “elevated play” somehow erroneous? Do we need to readjust our perspective? I recently discussed these topics with Drew Mariani of The Drew Mariani Show, using the business world (among other topics) as an analogy. The podcast in its entirety can be found here, with our discussion beginning halfway through (minute 29).

We like to be the best of the best in all we do, and with that comes the desire to watch the best of the best perform at top levels. In business, athletics and life – we keep an eye on the experts because their talent and precision is intriguing. The difference with sports, however, is that we are willing to pay to watch other people play and showcase their skills. And as a result, a 30-second commercial spot during the Super Bowl now goes for $4.5 million.

While spending millions to produce and promote a single football game is undoubtedly a large amount of money, it will likely generate billions in economic impact for memorabilia, food, tickets, parking, lodging, and the like. Still, the bottom line is that the reason why these numbers are so high is because we are willing to pay for and endorse the experience. 

Some people argue that professional athletes are paid too much money. But, in reality – just like in business – it’s all about supply and demand. If someone is highly skilled and good at what they do consistently, such as Drew Bees of the New Orleans Saints, the highest paid NFL quarterback, he can demand more. And it is often those who earn the most who are the most generous. They recognize their responsibility to be good stewards of what they have received and gladly share it by giving back in forms of volunteerism, service or financial generosity.

Drew Mariani raises an interesting point when he says that paying people more – athletes or employees, alike – creates incentives to do better and perform at higher levels. If everyone within your organization received the same pay, there would be little motivation to produce higher quality work and go above and beyond for the betterment of the company. (Except for an exceptional few, but that’s another topic for another day.) Why should I break my back when my coworker isn’t performing and we are awarded the same?

In athletics, or even among the most successful businesspeople today, there lies a common misconception that world-class performance and living a life of virtue are at odds with each other. There are many examples to lead us down that path of thinking unfortunately. Interestingly though, many of the methods used to become a great athlete are the same methods used to become a virtuous person. There is wisdom to be gained from sports, regardless of whether or not you play.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013|Categories: Uncategorized||

Focusing in Detail

Peak performances are possible, and they happen every day. You are capable of experiencing them more often than you think. Think in terms of detail – the more you try to see, the more absorbed you become. It is the secret of performing “in the zone.”

Human beings can do incredible things – make headline-worthy plays, solve the most complex mathematic equations, come up with the most leading-edge business innovations – the list goes on. But, for some reason, we have a hard time tapping into our full potential outside of extraordinary circumstances. And yet, it’s possible.

One of the keys to reproducing your peak performance is in seeing detail. The more task-related detail that you focus on during any performance, the more absorbed you will become in the moment. Albert Einstein probably wasn’t multitasking when he proposed the general theory of relatively. More realistically, he was undoubtedly so invested and focused in his work that it was his total consumption in it that lead to his discovery. That is what makes peak performances possible.

As outlined in this TIME magazine piece, Stanford researcher, Clifford Nass, challenged 262 college students to complete experiments that involved switching among tasks, filtering irrelevant information and using working memory. The expectation was that frequent multitaskers would outperform non-multitaskers on at least some of these activities. But, the opposite was true and even worse: only one of the experiments actually involved multitasking, signaling that even when focusing on a single activity, frequent multitaskers use their brains less effectively.

Multitasking is not a strength; being in the “zone” requires your full attention, not segments of it here or there. In a sense there is no such thing as multi-tasking. Someone who is a good “multi-tasker” is someone who is really exceptional at quickly shifting their focus to a different task but still seeing each one in great detail. The degree to which you improve your ability to focus on the details of the task at hand is the degree to which you will ultimately improve the quality of your performances.

One hundred percent. That’s it. You can’t give 110 percent. There is no secret slice under the pie. Using 100 percent of your attention to focus on the task at hand, only on the things that are involved with what you are currently doing, guarantees that you will perform at your best in each present moment for the rest of your life. The good news is that there is more – much more – for you to learn that will dramatically improve all that you do.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013|Categories: Uncategorized||