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Podcast Episode 064: The Art of Focus and Listening – Lessons from world champion shooter Christina Bengtsson

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What does a world champion shooter, a 6 year old boy and a Swedish pig have in common? In this episode of Deep Listening: Impact Beyond Words, we explore the relationship between focus and listening.

Join Oscar and listen carefully to Christina Bengtsson, who has a TED Talk and book on the Art of Focus.

What is focus or lack of focus? What should you do when you notice your attention is distracted or exhausted? What is the role of breathing for focus and listening?

Learn what to do with internal and external distractions, how to use them as a springboard back to focus. Discover what you can use as your ‘autumn leaf’.

Transcript

Podcast Episode 064: The Art of Focus and Listening – Lessons from world champion shooter Christina Bengtsson

Christina Bengtsson:

My son Christopher is six years old. He’s autistic, but he’s sharp-minded and he speaks very well. He is supposed to start school, and the first day, he’s supposed to be picked up by a taxi, and he’s of course, very nervous, and he actually doesn’t want to go to school because for him it’s a too new situation. But I could sense that this is a little bit too much. This is nervous, and of course it is. It would be for anyone, I think. Just imagine going into a completely new situation. You have no clue, no experience, of course you’re nervous. So what happens is that him and I were standing waiting for the taxi, the taxi comes, a nice lady walks out being calm and careful, and Christopher, six years old, is supposed to walk into the taxi and leave his mother. And I’ve stayed home with him a lot, so we are very close connected. And he’s just about to walk into the taxi, and then he stops.

Christina Bengtsson:

And he comes to me, and he’s holding me very closely and hard. I’m quiet. I don’t say anything, and then he says, “Mom, I don’t want to do this.” And he’s almost crying, and I use the power of silence, so I am silent for a while, and then I say, “It’s good that you’re telling me.” And then I went silent again, but we kept holding around each other, and it’s completely silent. Silent, silent, silent. Nothing happens, and then he says, these remarkable words from a six-year-old, he says, “Wait, hold on, Mom, for a while. I just need to think through this day.”

Oscar Trimboli:

Deep listening: Impact beyond words. I’m Oscar Trimboli, and this is the Apple Award-winning podcast deep Listening, designed to move you from an unconscious and distracted listener to a deep and impactful listener. Did you know you spend 55% of your day listening, yet only 2% of us have had any training in how to listen? Frustration, misunderstanding, wasted time and opportunity, along with creating poor relationships are just some of the costs of not listening. Each episode of the series is designed to provide you with practical, actionable, and impactful tips to move you through the five levels of listening. I invite you to visit oscartrimboli.com/facebook to learn more about the five levels of listening and how to learn from others who are listening better to help make you a deep and impactful listener.

Oscar Trimboli:

What does a world champion shooter, a six-year-old boy, and a Swedish pig have in common? It’s all about focus. In this episode of Deep Listening: Impact Beyond Words, we listen carefully to Christina, who has created a TEDx Talk and an amazing book on the art of focus. She calls it a crucial ability. In this discussion with Christina, I explore with her what focus is and what the lack of focus means also. What to do when you notice your attention is in the moment and what to do when you’re either distracted or exhausted and how to come back to that spot. Listen carefully about how Christina uses a simple autumn leaf and how that impacts her focus in an absolute split second to bring her back into the present. And I turn up to an interview like this with a world-class shooter. I’ll admit I was completely intimidated to be speaking to Christina, an expert on the topic of focus, a topic I struggle with all the time, and yet I learn by turning up and listening, that was enough.

Oscar Trimboli:

Listening, deep listening, helped me to make a connection that helped Christina understand the power of silence and its role in listening. Christina grew up in farming area in Sweden where there were pigs, and this is where our listening with Christina begins.

Christina Bengtsson:

I’m born on the countryside. I’m born on a farm, and I often go back to the farm. My parents live there, so I’m very close connected to this, so this is important to me in life, so to say. And when I was younger, I had my own pig, and pigs are intelligent animals. Pigs knows how to listen, I would say. Pigs knows how to be focused on what’s important, and sometimes we people miss out on that because we are addicted to thoughts or addicted to say something all the time. So for me to learn to know an animal that deeply and to walk into his box and ask … He doesn’t use human words, of course. He doesn’t use the Swedish old language. He says more or less nothing, but still I could by just wanting him and to learn to understand what all these different subtile movements within his face or on his face, such like what they actually meant and to learn to know these animals so deeply that I actually knew just by looking at him to know if he was hungry or if he simply wanted to explain something to me.

Christina Bengtsson:

I didn’t understand everything. Just to learn to know an animal actually can’t speak with words, was the first brave code in knowledge and impression to me, where I understood that if I can learn to know someone so good without words, what is there then behind the words also in between people, in between humans. So I think actually quite early in my life I started to react on disability, especially what said beyond words, and I think my relationships so to say with my own pig gave me this important knowledge. My pig had a name, his name was ‘Kanuwa’, and I think this was a very good example, at least to myself about that there was something much deeper, much more important sometimes than our words, because I can honestly say that I learned to know him very, very well.

Christina Bengtsson:

And on the other hand I think he knew me very well as well, but in another level than speaking about words, I believe with us, we have so many things going around all the time, so many opportunities around us also all the times especially in today’s life, any state’s society, we sometimes miss out this importance of actually saying nothing and understand what we mean when we don’t use words all the time. This also helped me to learn to listen deeply to myself, because speaking to someone who actually never says a word, but listen very carefully to you, makes you understand yourself a little bit better.

Oscar Trimboli:

When you went to university, and it was your brother, in fact, that probably is responsible for you taking a very different path in your life. Can you take us back to the steps of the university in your first year and the choices you made that led you to become a world champion and an expert in focus?

Christina Bengtsson:

I was 23 years old and I felt that I had kind of the capacity and inner strength and deep will somewhere and I didn’t really know how to handle this frustration. I felt that I in a way could do more than just going to the university. And I don’t think I say this to your sound cocky or to sound more than others because I think a lot of people can relate to that, especially in younger years. This feeling of knowing that you can do something important, something strong, but you don’t really know perhaps what it is and you don’t really know where to put it or where to start. And I have this feeling, and I was thinking about this quite a lot and it frustrated me also not knowing what to do. Then after a while I realised that, okay, well I have these abilities. For instance, the ability to stay with one thing during a longer time, I knew I was good at being patient. I was good in many different kinds of physical sports. So the thought came up that, Hey, you can become a world champion in something.

Christina Bengtsson:

We found out that shooting must be the best sport. And since that very day, I took the decision to become best in the world and then the decision was taken that okay, it has to be shooting. It’s actually quite boring sport. But I also knew that I could handle this boringness, this is a part of walking from being nothing to become something. And whatever it is you need to calculate that it must be boring sometimes, you can’t fun all the time. My sports, it was the shooting with a rifle, you can shoot and can be different in calibers or it can be different in distances. But in sports shooting, this is mostly about shooting with a rifle, 22 calibers and the target is 50 metres away and the 10 is only 10.4 millimetres. So it’s almost impossible.

Oscar Trimboli:

So that’s even smaller than your finger now, what this isn’t attributes would be if you had to put together a list of half of shooter names in terms of their mindset and their attributes to be successful?

Christina Bengtsson:

To be patient, to have perseverance, and to be able to build up your inner self confidence and somehow to learn to deal with these extremely small organelles that that means that you have to learn to understand to, SVU is the word. To listen to yourself, to be very aware about your own thoughts because even though you practise thousands of hours and it’s a large amount of technical practise and physical practise, what makes the difference between hitting the target, hitting depend or not hitting depend in a nervous situation, standing, having perhaps one shot left in a final and it’s all ladies small mortgage, these millimetres that makes difference between winning or losing completely and you are so nervous.

Christina Bengtsson:

So you’re having a heartbeat, which is a, bang, bang, bang in a minutes if not very fast heartbeat. You need to deal with your thoughts more than anything else. You need to free your mind from distracting thoughts. And when you do, I call that then you are focused and then you are as good as you can be and you don’t have to become better. You have to realise that, that’s good enough. If you have practised thousands of hours for one thing, you are probably very, very good at that. But so are everyone else. So the important thing is to take a bit of it nervous thoughts. And there you find that inner capacity that actually moves your thoughts are trained to, and that’s something good enough.

Oscar Trimboli:

One of the things we’ve learn from our research, from 1,410 people is distractions in the top three barriers that get in the way of people listening and the parallels where you have to be focused for long periods of time as the same as truthful listening. I think if you could take us back to that moment where you had your last shot at the world championships, take us through that process you went through and the role that at least played in helping you to stay away from distraction and stay focused and stay away from the dialogue in your head. I think that will be really helpful for everyone listening.

Christina Bengtsson:

I had one shot left in that oral champion final. And I know there was a Chinese, so to say ahead of me. I knew I was on the edge to do something powerful, to finally get this gold medal. So it was of course truly important seconds, and we speak about seconds here, perhaps 30 seconds altogether. It was one shot left and I need to hit a 10 to win the world champion title. And of course my mind is full of all these nourish thoughts, especially thoughts connected to future, thoughts like what happens. Did I shoot a nine? Or even worse, what happens if I shoot seven or even worse, what happens if I miss the target? That would be quite painful with that situation as the audience is close behind and the time is ticking and the stress is very, very strong, the heartbeat, again, it’s very, very fast. But then in that situation and with my practise also behind, I knew that I was not afraid of taking two seconds.

Christina Bengtsson:

I want to runaway from situation. It’s too nervous. I was like, “Why have I put myself in this terrible situation.” Comes up perhaps low self confidence thoughts like, “No, I’m not good enough. I haven’t practised enough. Who do you think you are who can actually win the world Champion title, come back to earth. Christina, are you nothing?” Things like that. The second in a situation like that can feel like extremely short or extremely long. And If I use that opportunity that, try to get rid of the distracting thoughts and to actually learn to love that moment in which I was, the time kind of felt longer than it actually is. So one, two, three seconds became like, the feeling of having a whole day. And that’s a way to take away the stress that I had, actually loved that little moment of lying there, looking at the targets and somehow just waiting until I had the opportunity where my distracted thoughts were gone.

Christina Bengtsson:

And how I made them gone was actually quite powerful. In that stressful moment, I actually, I took a break and I look at the little level ultimately, which was moving a little bit in the wind, and again this little leave just for a second or two my full attention. And I asked the brain, he brought terms all he kept focused on one thing at a time. This little leaf kind of blew out all other disturbing thoughts. And in this little second I was back to focus. I was back to a kind of silence, a situation in which it was only me, my weapon and the targets and no disturbing thoughts at all. Actually, perhaps no thought at all. It was only that the picture of the leaf and then back up hitting the targets in a relaxed way, and I happened to shoot at 10.9 which is almost better than shooting a 10. And then you audience applaud, and I realised, that okay, it wasn’t that complicated. And I actually used my focus on that little league to relieve myself from all these nervous thoughts and that was key points.

Oscar Trimboli:

Oh, it’s Oscar. Listening back to this interview, I couldn’t help but notice that dance going on in Christina’s head about the future in the moment. For me, when I’m listening, I’m consumed by the future especially at work. What questions could I ask? What questions should I ask? Why am I distracted in this moment? How do I come back to the present and notice what the speaker is saying, what the speaker is showing me. So got me thinking about what’s your autumn belief? How do you keep in the moment? And that got me thinking. I used to juiced by the future. And are you ignoring your autumn leaf? Look for me someplace a glass of water. I touch the glass to bring me back to the present when I’m speaking to somebody else and if I’m having a cup of tea, I’ll do the same.

Oscar Trimboli:

And from that moment when I drink it, and from the moment when the water touches my tongue, it’s a signal to me that the only moments that matters is this moment. The most important thing I can give the speaker right now is my complete and undivided attention. I’ll get distracted. I think the difference is, I notice more often when I’m distracted. Then I was, three years ago, five years ago, or a decade ago. I wonder how you come back to the present when you get distracted. I thought you to share your distraction in the deep listening Facebook group. How you either come the distraction and maybe you’ll be able to help somebody else. Let’s pause now and come back to our interview with a world shooting champion Christina, as we explore the role of breathing to help bring you back into the absolute present moment.

Oscar Trimboli:

Christina, I’m curious about the role of breathing to bring the kindness stillness you need and to bring your heart right down. Are there any deliberate practises you have in using breathing to help you stay focused?

Christina Bengtsson:

The most important thing is to recognise when I breathe or when I don’t breathe, or when I breathe deeply and when I don’t breathe that deeply. Because what happens in a nervous situation like that is that as the heartbeat goes up, you tend to breathe. Like a little rabbits, I don’t know exactly how they breathe, but just to get a picture of what it may look like, scared rabbits running fast that’s usually kind in woods. And this actually what the body wants to do. Also, the human body in a nervous situation. But then that shooting position you can run, this is what’s so difficult in this calm sport. This is also why it’s so good to explain how I can use as you say for instance breathing, or how to find calmness in a nervous situation where I actually have to stand still because that’s what we do.

Christina Bengtsson:

Most people in life, we don’t run when we get nervous because we are nowadays in situations where we can’t run, you’re perhaps having a speech on the stage, sitting in a meeting at work or at home and most of the times you can’t get rid of this adrenaline and the heartbeat, you must stand still. And this is tricky and to humble that, a deep breathing can help you to actually calm down both your mind and your heartbeats. And for shooting, you’re supposed to shoot in between the heartbeats. I learned to do that automatically, it’s not difficult actually, you just trust the system and it happens.

Christina Bengtsson:

So there was nothing I was thinking about, it just happened. So you better calm down. And also one important thing is to accept the fact that I am nervous. I want to run away from here because I’m so nervous and to accept that, because when I accept the fact that I am nervous, I might even hate this situation. There is acceptance of the situation and this acceptance of myself in a nervous situation. And then I more easily come down to the situation where I can sense that well, what ever happens life treats me quite well anyway. So I kind of find this calmness by discussing myself and then it’s also easier to breath instead of pushing more and more nervous thoughts into your mind because that makes your breathing faster and faster.

Oscar Trimboli:

I’m just curious if you had some practical tips when we talk about breathing a little bit more deeply.

Christina Bengtsson:

I was doing what we called ‘shegon’, where you learn to breathe very deeply and where you learn to focus your mind on different parts on your body. It’s more or less like yoga or mindfulness, kind of the same. And then I learned how it felt when I kind of focused my mind into certain parts of my body to feel the warmness in this certain part of your body and then going back to, for instance the shooting range, and being able to do the same thing. But, I would rather say that I didn’t use this specific technique for breathing, what I did, which may be a little bit different, is that I actually, I was sometimes singing before I entered the final range in the shooting range because I realised two things about singing, and the first one is that I thought I was very bad at singing. I think that’s quite common.

Christina Bengtsson:

Many people say that they can’t sing, but we all can. And I thought I couldn’t sing and I realised that this is actually problem in the sense that this means that I have within my physical body system here, I have limits because I like to sing, I just don’t do it within a system that you actually more or less are born to do. We can sing. So I realised that if I can conquer this problem that I believe that I can’t sing, I will also conquer a very important fear and this can help me in another nervous situation. So I actually use the fear of singing to then be able to handle the fear of hitting the targets 50 metres away and win the world champion title. So what I did was that I organised situations in which I actually sang in front of people, firstly could be my family and then it could be in a little children club at home in Sweden here, or then in the extension actually sang on bigger stages on world cup.

Christina Bengtsson:

It may sounded very bad in the beginning because I was tension, I was stressed. But then when I realise that, hey, people likes me anyway.

Oscar Trimboli:

Yeah. How do you think learning to sing change the way you think about your breathing though?

Christina Bengtsson:

It definitely changed in that way that I learned to breathe even deeper. In the end, when you sing, and you’re supposed to hold a tone, you need to have learn how to use the air in the lungs but also to not use them at once. You need to control how much air comes out, how much the air to keep. And that’s very, very important to know and to understand how it works. When you imagine in a nervous situation, such that your lungs goes empty quite fast because the body think it’s supposed to run as fast as it can from something dangerous. But as you don’t need to run as fast as you can because you’re supposed to stand still, you can use this technique to kind of control the air, which you have within the lungs. And again connected to what I said about time that one second in your imagination or in your sense or your feeling can be like one minute or even longer.

Christina Bengtsson:

It feels like much longer if you kind of just focus on it. And a little bit the same with the breathing that you might feel that you have no more air left in your lungs but actually if you can control that amount of air, you’ve been much more powerful.

Oscar Trimboli:

What if there is free practical tips you would provide to people when I get distracted to help them stay focused?

Christina Bengtsson:

Well, in a nervous situation, which means you are in a peak performance situation. I would say number one is to learn to remark the distracting thoughts. And second would be to reinforce the ability to ignore the distracting thoughts. And then third, to decide what not to focus on. Many people, they believe that they know what focus is, but they have never really remarked the difference between being focused and unfocused. And that means that they have not really remarked what are their distracting thoughts and how do they feel when they do not have any distracting thoughts.

Christina Bengtsson:

And that’s very, very fine difference. So what people need to do is to listen to their thoughts and realise what do my disturbing thoughts look like and is often connected to fear. The fear of losing, the fear of asking the correct things. The fear of not being accepted, perhaps deeper, even the fear to not being accepted or being loved. And when you learn to remark these distracting thoughts. It’s not just about trying to become focused, it’s more or less to firstly know what are the distracting thoughts and then to know how to get rid of them. And there are many different techniques for doing that, I mean staring at an awesome leaf. It could be one thing. One thing could be to take a break and to actually be honest and telling the other person that, Hey, I need a break or we’re just talking about seconds here, but Hey, I didn’t follow you or could you please repeat that again just to get a little break. And I think it’s important to be honest about this.

Christina Bengtsson:

If you listen to someone for, it could be one minute, five minutes or two hours, even though it’s just a shorter time, sometimes the mind doesn’t have the ability to be completely focused all the time. So we must become better at accepting the fact that you sometimes lose track or sometimes get distracted and to dare to say it, to dare to say to who we speak that, “Oh, Hey, I lost you for a while or Oh, sorry, I was thinking about something else.” That isn’t okay. That is not rude. What’s rude it’s not to say that and try to become focused or just staring at the person, but not listening at all. That’s rude. It’s actually just simply say that, to again accept that you have become distracted and prepare to say it to the other person, and then to just give yourself a short moment to perhaps get rid of the distracting thoughts by looking at one simple thing, a neutral thing, which doesn’t quit your mind in the further nervous or chaotic situation.

Oscar Trimboli:

It’s Oscar here just jumping in, so sorry if I’ve distracted your thoughts while listening to Christina. Yet people are often surprised that this happens to me. Yes. I’m really comfortable saying, I hope you can forgive me, or I just got lost. Do you mind saying that again and yet to have a person get frustrated and annoyed about my honesty is my biggest concern when I say that, but in most cases when I say it to people, they simply smile or acknowledge with a node because I know they’ve done it themselves, and they’re always happy to repeat what they say. I think it’s the most human thing to do is to ask somebody to repeat what they’ve just said. I think it just acknowledges that we’re not perfect. What do you think? You can always email me at podcast@oscartrimboli.com with your thoughts. Or if you visit the website, oscartrimboli.com. You can record a voice message and send it to me. I love the voice messages because then I can include them in future podcasts so we can all learn to listen from each other.

Oscar Trimboli:

I love listening to what’s on your mind when these episodes are being listened to. Let’s come back and listen to Christina explaining that the mind can only focus on one thing at a time. I think she’s been speaking with professor Stefan from the Netherlands.

Christina Bengtsson:

And to use this perfect ability that the brain has, it’s perhaps not inability, but it’s a function that the brain can in both terms, only focus at one thing at a time. And this may sound difficult or make it difficult, but it’s not. It’s actually, and I’ve been touched because when you know, and when you think of the fact that the brain can only focus at one thing at a time, that means that few four seconds focus on a pencil on the table. That can actually help you to get rid of all these other thoughts that you had in your mind and come back to what you’re actually doing at the moment. So we should use that opportunity that we have that the mind can only focus at one thing at a time and to make that as a positive thing instead of a nervous thing.

Oscar Trimboli:

Which one of those three would you say to the group? This is the most important thing that most people could focus on to progress their focus.

Christina Bengtsson:

In the beginning when I started to do interviews on focus, this was when I wrote the first book, the auto focus, of course I was supposed to interview different kinds of topics, the Q-tips and so on. That was of course very nervous since beginning, because I was at that time the athlete, the military woman, and I was not so involved into business, so I was nervous when I met, for instance business equities. And I remember one time when I was supposed to interview one of our former Supreme commanders, and of course I was nervous because I was supposed to meet the Supreme commander. And this put me in situation where I had a large amount of nervous distracting thoughts in my mind. And again, it was important for me to say the correct things, to ask the correct questions and to even look in a good way and to look serious and to look focus.

Christina Bengtsson:

And I had all these thoughts going on in my mind, almost the same as what was going on the shooting range. I was nervous. And I meet these person, this Supreme commander. And what I didn’t know and what I didn’t realise was that he was actually nervous too. So what happens in this situation is that he is a little bit curious, a bit nervous, a little bit tension about the fact that he’s actually meeting one of the world champions in sharp shooting. But then what happens is that I use my technique to get rid of the distracting thoughts, and I kind of relax and I open up and I kind of show my nervousness to him and explain how I feel. And we open up in a situation where I give myself his time to calm down and when he does the same … What I did in this situation to get rid of the distracting thoughts is to give myself a little bit of time and to, instead of thinking about all these thoughts on myself, I was thinking about him, just for a second.

Christina Bengtsson:

Who is he really? How has his thing been? How does he feel? Does he have any pets or whatever, something human about him. That person no matter who he is. And as the brain only can focus on one thing at the time as we already have learned. Actually the ability to feel empathy for another person knocks out the disturbing thoughts you have within your mind. Just as the ultimately did in my a world champion final to get rid of the nervous thoughts. So empathy is the short track to get focused.

Oscar Trimboli:

I think its brilliant story that brings to life just being a human talking to another human and relating at that level rather than the Supreme commander meeting the world champions now talk. Empathy is the shortcut to focus. When you move your attention away from yourself and an inward focus and outward towards others, to an open place, to a space and a point in time for you and the speaker to connect beyond the words. The impact is, as Christina’s described it, truly transformational. Many people ask me, how do I listen and what do I think. I do to simply create enough silence for the speaker’s words to catch up with what they’re thinking. I think sometimes it’s just the confidence to wait and listen to the silence completely. The beginning of silence, the middle of silence and the end of silence. The same happened in this interview with Christina. They were many times when my pause helped her to explore a different perspective and in this case, a wonderful example of listening beyond the words in a situation so, so close to home for her.

Christina Bengtsson:

Yeah. I was thinking about a wonderful situation, which make me think even though I’m supposed to be very good at both focusing and probably listening too, I still need to listen and sense and to hear and to reflect on what’s going on around me. I need to listen very carefully on what’s going on and to listen on others so that I can understand more and develop. It’s interesting how I listen to a lot of high level people, so to say executives and well other world champions and so on. What gave me the most was the other day, my son, Christopher, six years old, he’s autistic but he’s sharp minded and he speaks very well. He is supposed to start school and the first day he’s supposed to be picked up by a taxi, and he’s of course very nervous and he actually doesn’t want to go to school because for him it’s a too new situation. But I could sense that this is a little bit too much. This is nervous and of course it is. It would be for anyone, I think.

Christina Bengtsson:

Just imagine going into a completely new situation. You have no clue, no experience of course, you’re nervous. So what happens is that him and I were standing waiting for the taxi, the taxi comes, a nice lady walks out being calm and careful. And Christopher, six years old is supposed to walk into the taxi and leave his mother. And I’ve stayed home with him a lot, so we were very close connected, and he’s just about to walk into the taxi and then he stops. And he comes to me, and he’s holding me very closely and hard. I’m quiet, I don’t say anything. And then he says, “Mom, I don’t want to do this.” And he’s almost crying. And I use the power of silence. So I am silent for a while and then I say, it’s good that you’re telling me. And then I went silent again. But we kept holding around each other and it’s completely silence, silent, silent, silent, nothing happens. And then he says this remarkable words from a six-year-old, he says, “Wait, hold on mom for a while. I just need to think through this day.”

Christina Bengtsson:

And I just say, “Yeah, you do that.” And we stand there close together for another minute perhaps. And I say nothing. And he says nothing. And then he says, “All right, now I can do it.” And he smiles, walk in to the taxi with self confidence, and the taxi driver drives away, and he’s off to school. And the day was perfect. This shows me at least the power of silence, the power of not using too many words and also the power as you just mentioned about when we are so young, only six years old, we actually have an innate capacity to discuss with ourselves, to listen to ourselves and then actually just in silence speak with ourselves and come to a conclusion. And actually in this situation a smart conclusion, he actually didn’t need me. And this is something I have used also when I coach and listen to other person instead.

Christina Bengtsson:

If I can come to the point where they start listening to themselves instead of listening to me, actually they have come very far, and I think we can say that humanity can prove more and more, and we need to be careful with this as we are so walking around full of distractions all the time and everywhere we go someone or something wants our attention.

Oscar Trimboli:

Christina, I’m not sure if you’ve made the connection between how you are listening and how your pig taught you how to listen when you’re growing up. As you talked about the story with Christopher, your son and you were sitting there calmly listening to him. Do you think there were lesson that kind of taught you that you were bringing to the conversation with your son at the age of six heading off to school for the first time?

Christina Bengtsson:

Absolutely. And this is a way where I could say that this listening, this silence, this listening to yourself actually helps you to grow yourself confidence. And this is probably what I did when I’d silence, led to Christopher my son, as you said, saw his own problem without any from outside coming impact. We don’t allow ourselves to speak to ourselves like Christopher did in this first day of school situation and like I did speaking to my pig because if I walked into my pig and I had some issues, some problems or some worryings or something I was angry about or something which was important or I was wondering something about how does this or that work because it’s his own problem. So whatever I spoke to Kanuwa about this of course and he didn’t answer, but he respected me. He sat still, he looked at me, he may said, this sound.

Christina Bengtsson:

So he didn’t lose focus on me. He gave me respect, but I had to talk to myself. The answers for myself were up to me, determines on my own. And I think it builds self confidence. I meet this quite often in my work when people come to me because they want to become more focused. And often people wanted to come more focused, so to say peak performance situation. But I believe we are actually quite good at this. We just don’t know about it. What’s difficult now is to say no and to decide what not to do and to kind of again, get rid of all these distractions, not only the ones inside our own thoughts, but also all these distractions that coming from outside and this need to develop all the time, this need to know what’s going on all the time. People need silence and people need time and they need time on their own to learn to listen to themselves because that’s where they find their inner Quora, their inner power, their inner capacities and their own smart solutions.

Oscar Trimboli:

Wow. What a joy, this interview was, I’m making a connection between a farmhouse pig, a world champion shooter, and her six-year-old son. That really became a powerful moment for me when listening beyond the words, listening to silence and listening to a story about silence, help Christina make meaning of those three connecting points in her life. I wonder what you take away from this discussion with Christina. She admits she struggles with focus every day, even a world champion shooter struggles with focus. Christina told me about the tension between external distractions and internal distractions. She told me how to notice when you’re distracted and how to come back in that present moment. I love the way she used the singing story to talk herself into the fact that breathing matters when it comes to focus, breathing matters when it comes to listening. Listening like focused isn’t about perfection, it’s about progress and improvement every day.

Oscar Trimboli:

It’s about noticing the movement in the moment and where your attention goes to and then coming back as quickly as possible to the present. With us speaking to Dr. Professor Stefan, world Swedish sharp shooter, Christina, the themes are very similar. Listening requires a lot of working memory and it’s impossible to multitask in that part of the brain. There are huge switching costs involved. So do yourself a big favour, switch off that laptop, switch off that phone and avoid some of the more significant external distractions so you can be a deeper listener. It takes a trod to get this whole idea to 100 million deep listeners in the world and I’m really grateful that this village has created a tribe that is taking the message out, that deep listening can help make a difference in the world. I sat down the other day and I realised that if all we did was share this episode with one other person, we’d get to 100 million deep listeners in only 36 months.

Oscar Trimboli:

If you’d like to help spread the message for deep listening, then simply share this podcast or your favourite podcast episode with a friend who hasn’t heard it before. I really appreciate you taking the time to listen. Thanks for listening. Again it’s Oscar and if you’re listening all the way back here, thank you so much. You’re probably driving along or you haven’t jumped at the next podcast that you’re listening to today. Thank you. I’m looking for a few people to help me out to discover what your deep listening villain is. That’s right. We are working [inaudible 00:47:23] in the background to create a set of simple questions that will tell you what kind of listening villain you are. If you’d like to participate and get early access to this simple tool that’ll help shine a lot on your listening blind spot, simply email me at podcast@oscartrimboli.com, with the subject line villains. That’s all you have to do. Thanks so much for listening.

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