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go off and think. He wants them to not bring their e-mail, not bring their cell phone--make themselves unavailable. And I think it's a really smart management strategy.
You say fear can really rev up ADT? How so?
Hallowell: When you're in a state of high-level fear, your brain devotes much of its resources to surviving. You go into survival mode. The lower centers of the brain recruit the higher centers of the brain to make sure you're not going to get killed. And you get a big volt of adrenaline and cortisol, and you go into very much black-and-white thinking, on or off, up or down.
You lose the functions I was talking about earlier: flexibility; ability to see shades of gray, deal with uncertainty, have a sense of humor, entertain new ideas. All of that goes out the window, and you're just wanting to fix it, lest you be annihilated. That's good if you're being chased by a sabertooth tiger. It's not good if you're in your average daily work environment at IBM.
Is it possible for an organization, as an entity, to have ADT?
Hallowell: Sure it is. You can have a whole stock brokerage.
They're all running around, working their tails off. But they're really at the whim of the market. They think they're working hard, and they think they're being productive, but they're not. They're busy, but they're not thoughtful.
Are certain professions more susceptible to ADT?
Hallowell: I think anything in the corporate world is, particularly these days, with the forces you just mentioned of global competition. Doctors are, in their own way, because we live in a sea of data and a sea of patients and sea of paperwork. Lawyers are, in their own way, for the same reasons.
Even moms are susceptible, but it comes in a different way. They're taking their kids from one activity to another, making all these play dates, supervising homework and supervising soccer, and doing laundry and shopping.
I assume that high-tech companies, which are themselves such avid consumers of tech gadgetry, are rife with ADT?
Yes, but they're also--and this is why I love those people so much--able to say no to it. They're playful. Play is one of the best antidotes to this. They're able to rise above it and get around it. The ones who suffer the most in that field are the ones who don't have the creative powers of the techies, and they just kind of slog along.
Do you think this is a generational thing? Kids now are growing up with e-mail, cell phones and so on. Maybe they'll be able to cope better than we do?
Hallowell: I think maybe they'll be more adept with these tools when they get to the workplace, but I think the same principles will apply. How you allocate your time and your attention is crucial. What you pay attention to and for how long really makes a difference. If you're just paying attention to trivial e-mails for the majority of your time, you're wasting time and mental energy. It's the great seduction of the information age. You can create the illusion of doing work and of being productive and creative when you're not. You're just treading water.
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