What does this moment require?

William Liao
2 min readFeb 25, 2024

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When neuroscientist Dr. Amishi Jha asked a retired army general what a common feature was among successful people, he responded with a trait he calls “pivot leadership” — the ability to clear all residue from the last event or meeting before the next one.

This ability to reset your attention and to identify and narrowly focus on what is relevant to accomplishing the task at hand is a skill that requires nurturing.

I don’t think there’s a one-size-fits-all approach to clearing this residue — for some it could be going on a walk before their next engagement, it could be clearing out one’s physical environment, it could be a simple ritual of taking a deep breath or two before transitioning to the next thing… it could be a combination of these things.

We live in an era where there is an ever present vortex trying to pull our focus away: it’s our phones, it’s our push notifications.

The ability to command your attention despite the allure of powerful distractions — to be able narrow it down to what you actually makes sense to focus on in the moment — is a potent form of leverage.

You objectively function better.

Your ability to notice and curate what you’re paying attention to is a foundational pillar for making the most of everything you do.

It’s worth figuring out how to cultivate.

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William Liao

Taiwanese American, daily blogger of ideas about impactful work in service of others, photographer (ephemera.photography)