Last week at breakfast in Tribeca we were around the corner from the crane that collapsed, crushing a row of cars and sadly some people.
My buddy Samuel said that the crane looked a little dodgy when he passed by a day earlier, and it was a devastating reminder to always pay attention.
We often take for granted that we live in safe cities (not you, Paulo) and we can walk the streets oblivious to what’s going on around us.
I once read the late Vince Flynn’s character, CIA assassin Mitch Rapp, lamenting that he didn’t have the luxury to walk down the street listening to music, because he needed to pay attention to who might walk up behind him with a gun…
In his profession paying attention on the streets keeps you alive, and the same can be true for all of us.
By far the best way to train your skill of awareness is daily meditation, but even without all that zenness you can simply practice paying more attention.
Like right now, what are you thinking while you are reading this? Is your mind jumping to other things? Do you notice how bringing your awareness back to this sentence you are already practicing this skill?
What is your body doing? Do you have one of those foot tapping things or other unconscious twitches that shows your mind is out of control? Slow it down. Bring stillness to the body and watch it spread to the mind.
What sounds are you noticing around you? Close to you, what do you hear? Further away in the distance, what are those sounds?
How is your breathing? Just paying attention, do you observe that your breathing has slowed down? Take a deep exhale and notice it even more.
Now, bring it all together. Bring your attention to what you are seeing, hearing, and feeling…and for a moment indulge in this heightened state of awareness.
Can you imagine how practicing this skill every day will do a whole lot more for you than keep you safer on the streets?