“Cal Newport is a clear voice in a sea of noise, bringing science and passion in equal measure. We don’t need more clicks, more cats, and more emojis. We need brave work, work that happens when we refuse to avert our eyes.”
Where is your attention right now? Do you find your attention span shrinking in the era of sound bites and clickbait headlines? Do you turn towards social media when a moment of boredom arises? Cal Newport has written a book that will upturn your perception of how you ‘should’ be engaging in this era of constant connection. His book is called Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World. Be forewarned, our conversation and his book will likely reshape your relationship with social media, personal habits and rituals and your overall approach to the work day. Thanks to Cal’s book, I have reimagined my tasks lists for the workday, creating rituals for focus, and walk around the social media sinkhole of attention. And Cal has one of my all-time favorites lines so far on the Contemplify podcast...
We do need more brave work, and Cal has questioned assumptions and charted a path for a focused approach to life. In our conversation, Cal shares the importance of Deep Work for personal and societal improvement in life and at work, the rituals of his day that create the most ample space of Deep Work, how is New York Times Op-Ed piece on social media caused such a stir (and backlash) and gives an example of what one comedian friend of his accomplished after they quit Twitter and devoted that time to Deep Work. You might find yourself making some major digital shifts after listening to this conversation.
Now for the official bio on Cal Newport is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University. In addition to studying the theoretical foundations of our digital age, Newport also writes about the impact of these technologies on the world of work. His most recent book, Deep Work, argues that focus is the new I.Q. in the modern workplace and that the ability to concentrate without distraction is becoming increasingly valuable. He previously wrote So Good They Can’t Ignore You, a book which debunks the long-held belief that “follow your passion” is good advice, and three popular books of unconventional advice for students. (from calnewport.com)
You can learn more about Cal and his work at calnewport.com.
Barbara Holmes served as president of United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, as well as professor of ethics and African American religious studies. She was ordained in the Latter Rain Apostolic Holiness Church in Dallas, Texas, and has privilege of call in the United Church of Christ and recognition of ministerial standing in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). In addition to her work with law firms, Holmes has worked with homeless missions, HIV/AIDS ministries, and international ministries in Kenya (the Presbyterian Church of East Africa) and Japan. The author of five books and numerous articles, her most recent publications include: Dreaming (Fortress Press, 2012),Liberation and the Cosmos: Conversations with the Elders (Fortress Press, 2008), and Joy Unspeakable: Contemplative Practices of the Black Church (Augsburg Fortress, 2004). Holmes earned an MS from Southern Connecticut University, an MDiv from Columbia Theological Seminary, a PhD from Vanderbilt University, and a JD from Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University. (adapted from The Association of Theological Schools' website)
In this episode, Barbara shares about her own contemplative lineage, reflections on the contemplative aspects of the Black Lives Matter movement, the contemplative and social impact of Kendrick Lamar and Beyonce, and her sense of hope in the next generation.
Dr. Amy Oden is a Professor of Early Church History and Spirituality at the Saint Paul School of Theology. In her latest book Right Here, Right Now: The Practice of Christian Mindfulness Amy draws upon the roots and connection points of mindfulness found in the Christian Tradition. In this episode, Amy shares what ‘mindfulness’ means to her, her own practices to cultivate mindfulness, and the brilliance of Jesus using mindfulness metaphors such as ‘asleep’ and ‘awake’ in his teaching (and some practical application points of those metaphors in our current technology saturated state).