Awareness determines how time is spent. Behaviors are a reflection of brain activity. Psychologist Daniel Kahneman researched this phenomenon and summarized that “even in the absence of time pressure, maintaining a coherent train of thought requires discipline.”
How does the brain get disciplined? Changing a busy brain with rampant, scattered thoughts towards attending to immediate surroundings, internal cues, and relational patterns is effortful work.
Awareness improves intellectual behaviors.
In his book Thinking Fast and Slow, Kahneman continues, “People who are cognitively busy are also more likely to make selfish choices, use sexist language, and make superficial judgments in social situations.” Each of these indicate an inner-dialogue that excludes a mature sense of automatic behaviors and the act of regulating them. Awareness of natural and built environment factors, as well as body capacities within are additional sense factors suppressed by cognitive busyness.
“Memorizing and repeating digits loosens the hold of System 2 (awareness) on behavior, but of course cognitive load is not the only cause of weakened self-control. A few drinks have the same effect, as does a sleepless night. The self-control of morning people is impaired at night; the reverse is true of night people. Too much concern about how well one is doing in a task sometimes disrupts performance by loading short term memory with pointless anxious thoughts.”
The roles we choose within daily activities directly effects our level of awareness.
Over time through aging we become more aware of behavior tendencies under certain conditions. Sleeplessness, drinking, and the onset of fatigue leads to patterned behaviors. Self-control weens as energy is depleted through the day. In these instances there will be a point when a role will emerge. In selfishness it may be over-eating, rage, or to zone-out with a smartphone. Altruistic roles may be napping, abstaining from alcohol, or (not) scheduling commitments in line with greatest and least productive timeframes.
Questions to Ask:
- What roles appear to have the most struggle?
- How is daily scheduling and commitments maintained in relationship to the onset of fatigue?
- How do you identify if you are or aren’t cognitively busy?