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Managing Distractions and Increasing Engagement

Dr Demartini discusses the significance of knowing your highest values in order to increase your engagement and productivity.

Dr. John Demartini is a world-renowned specialist on human behavior, a researcher, author and global educator. He has studied over 30,000 books across nearly all the defined academic disciplines and has synthesized the wisdom of the ages, which he shares on stage in over 100 countries around the world.

Dr Demartini discusses the significance of knowing your highest values in order to increase your engagement and productivity.

What are the factors that drive high versus low engagement when it comes to our children, staff or ourselves?

I think everybody can remember a time where they’ve read a book and have been so engaged that they didn’t want to put it down, and other times when they’ve read a book that almost put them to sleep. One – you were engaged. One – you were disengaged. The same thing happens in a movie – you could be totally engaged in a movie and won’t miss a single moment of it or be in a movie where your attention fades out in seconds. In other words, real engagement is being present and inspired to participate in whatever is going on in your life at that moment because you perceive it to be important and valuable to you.

If you want to increase engagement in any individual – be it yourself, your students, or your staff – you can ask one of the greatest questions there is: “How is what I’m doing helping me fulfil what is most deeply meaningful to me?” If you can ask that question and make a link between what you are doing and what is most important to you, you will become more engaged.

In order to do this, you need to know what is truly a high priority to you. Much of the time, people haven’t narrowed that down and haven’t taken the time to do the Demartini Value Determination Process to find out what their life is demonstrating is important to them. They think something is valuable to them but when they get around to doing it, they discover that it isn’t. They’re not engaged because what they are doing is not actually highly meaningful or important to them.

You can see this quite clearly with school-going children. Children love learning – they just want to learn what’s important to them. If they don’t see how a class or topic is going to be important to them, they’re not going to engage. I personally think it’s the responsibility of every teacher to identify the highest values of their students and then share how that class is going to help each student fulfil their highest values. It would be wise to be a standard procedure.

You can also see it play out in the workplace. I can take a person who is not inspired at work and who is distracted and unfocused and sit down and ask them the question: “How specifically is doing this job or series of tasks going to help you fulfil what’s really important and meaningful to you?” The more links I make between the two, the more engaged they become, and their focus, productivity, creativity, willingness to endure challenges, resilience and innovation all increase.

Walk us through the steps of the Demartini Value Determination Process – and how knowing your values impacts your engagement.

If you ask somebody what their values are, most people unknowingly confuse what is important to them with who they think they should be. Whenever you hear yourself saying, “I should do this”, “I ought to be doing this, “I need to do this”, “I have to do this”, “I must do this,” – it’s an imperative, deontological duty that you feel you have to do. You’re living by what you perceive you ought to do instead of what you feel inspired to do.

Your values are what your life is already demonstrating is important to you, but many people find it hard to separate their values from their surrounding social ideals or from values that have been injected by outside authorities such as parents, teachers and preachers. I developed a series of value determinants to indicate what an individual’s life is already demonstrating, as opposed to what they think it should be.

I like to use the example of a baby to help people understand the concept of value determination. If you hand something to a baby in their crib and it’s something they really want – they will hold onto it tightly, stick it in their mouth and play with it. If it’s something the baby doesn’t value or doesn’t want, it will throw it out, cry and push it away. In the same way, whatever we hold onto, we value; and whatever we push away and don’t want in our space, is less valuable.

The first determinant is: what do we fill our space with? What are the three highest priority items that we most consistently have around us? It could be our cell phone. It could be our computer. It could be our children. It could be technology. It could be food or clothes – it depends on what we value most.

The second determinant is time. Look carefully at what you spend your time on because you make time, find the time, and spend time on things that are valuable to you. You run out of time, don’t want to spend time and can’t find time for things that aren’t.

The third determinant is: what energizes you? When you’re around something that’s valuable to you, your energy goes up. And when you’re not, your energy goes down. So, look at what grows your energy.

The fourth one is:  what do you spend your money on and find money for? You’ll find money and make money and spend money on things that are valuable. So, look at where you spend your money and it will tell you what you value.

The fifth determinant is: where are you most organized and ordered? Things that are not important to you, are often not in order or are in a state of chaos. My highest order is the knowledge, and teaching around the world that I’ve accumulated. My research is organized. My traveling is organized. My speaking is organized. So, I look at where I’m most organized, and that’s what I value.

The sixth determinant is: where are you most disciplined and reliable? You can count on me to be researching every day and count on me to be looking up articles. You can count on me to be updating and writing manuals for seminars. You can count on me for traveling. So, whatever your highest values are, you will be extremely disciplined in it.

The next three are: what do you think about, what do you visualize and what do you internally dialogue with yourself about how you would love your life to be? And make sure that there’s evidence there to show that you are already making progress in that area. If there’s no progress – don’t write it down because it’s a whim or a fantasy.

The next one is: what do you want to converse with other people about and what do you keep engaging in conversations with people about?

Then, what is inspiring to you, and what is common to the people who inspire you?

The next one is: what are the three most consistent and persistent goals you have about what you want to create in your life that you’re showing evidence of coming true? What are goals are already coming true?

And the last one is: what do you love studying, reading about, learning about and listening to?  You only want to learn what’s important to you – you don’t want to fill your mind with what’s not important.

What is interesting is that if you answer all 13 of those questions with integrity and look at which of those answers are repeated most, you’ll have three to five summarized answers that will be the top three values in your life.

To sum up, if you want to be more engaged, more inspired, identify what your values are, and set sail as captain of your ship, then find out what your highest values are and prioritize your daily life to fit those values in a way that serves others and earns a sustainable fair exchange. Delegate the rest.

I run my own business and have a big team that always asks me for help. I find that it distracts me from being super-focused on one task. What advice can you give in this regard?

Instead of team members figuring things out for themselves, they keep relying on you and don’t want to be accountable for solving the problem. They’d rather offload them onto you. If you then rescue them, they’re not going to learn to do it themselves.

Take the time to do a thorough and detailed job description and then identify their own highest values and link each one of the job description duties to their top three highest values, so they become more engaged. The more engaged they are, the more they will be inspired to tackle problems and come up with innovative solutions. You, in turn, will be freed up to do your own high priority actions.

Also, make sure that you are not feeding their dependencies and rescuing them or judging their decisions and punishing them. Instead, let them figure it out and become more confident in making decisions, otherwise, you’re feeding their dependence on you and allowing them to continue to distract you.

Any advice on what the leader in a business would be wise to do during this time to keep team morale high and help the team stay focused on core business goals?

If you, as the leader, are not seeing the benefits of what’s happening in your own business and you’re showing perception of crisis and adding to the feeling of insecurity, then that’s going to have a ripple effect on your team. You have the ultimate responsibility to see whatever’s happening right now as being “on the way” and not “in the way” so you can get creative and come up with innovative solutions.

I’m a firm believer in finding a way to use what is happening to your greatest advantage to fulfil your highest values because that is when amazing opportunities come about. Company morale goes up because people see new ideas, learn how to process challenges, become creative and more engaged, and learn how to innovate. You, as the leader, are wise and powerful when you initiate that.

The Breakthrough Experience is designed to empower your seven areas of life. I teach you how to identify what your values are and how to structure your life so you can live congruently according to your highest values – so, you’re filling your day with high priority actions instead of low probably distractions, knowing how to delegate, how to free yourself up, and how to see whatever happens as being “on the way” and not “in the way”.

I also teach the Demartini Method on how to dissolve any emotion, anger, resentment, infatuations, pride, shame, grief – any emotion other than “thank you”, “I love you”, “I appreciate you”, “I’m certain”, “I’m grateful”, “I’m inspired”, “I am enthused” and “I’m present”. I show you the science on how to transform any emotional baggage that is stored in your subconscious mind and liberate it, so you can get on with your life and be fueled and inspired by what’s happening because there’s nothing in your way of doing something extraordinary on the planet.

I also show you how to not subordinate to other people on the outside. If you subordinate to the world on your outside, you’re not going to recognize your genius and power on your inside. Any area of your life that you don’t empower, people are going to overpower you.

So, I show you how to empower those seven areas of life. Because if you don’t empower yourself intellectually, you’ll be told what to think. If you don’t empower yourself in business, you’ll be told what to do. If you don’t empower yourself in finance, you’ll be told what you’re worth. If you don’t empower yourself in relationship, you’ll be trapped. If you don’t empower yourself socially, you’ll be told propaganda that is misleading.

Physically, you’ll be told what drug to take or organ to remove. If you don’t empower yourself spiritually, you’ll probably be taught some antiquated, dogmatic model. But, if you empower each of those seven areas, you’re free to get on with doing something that’s meaningful to your life and how to do something extraordinary with it.

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Dr. John Demartini, Founder of the Demartini Institute, International bestselling author, educator, and consultant www.drdemartini.com.