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  • Writer's pictureJason Downes

4/52: Eye Contact

Updated: Jan 28, 2020

Last week I went and had an eye test. I've noticed that it's getting tough to focus on things in the distance, and when I'm really tired I need to hold the small print just a bit further away than I used to. Hmmm. Talking to the Optometrist, Peter Merrett (full disclosure: - He's a great Optometrist and Catherine, my mum works with him - Hi Mum!), we were casually chatting about the importance that eye sight can play in our everyday work and life. I'm sure it's something Pete chats about all the time, but for me it really got me thinking how critical my eyesight is to my work and social connections.

Fast forward two days and my ABC Listen podcast is called "Look up and connect". I'm cycling with my one (left) Airpod in and listening to Dr Fiona Kerr explaining how amazing our brains are. Every social interaction, every human connection, every abstract thought fires off neural connections..and most of this data, as far as I can gather is coming to us through our eyes. The research and the report are both fascinating and highly digestible - check it out:

So here's my (layperson) takeaways:

  1. Meeting people face to face is really important to make deep connections that can be utilised in the future. If you have the option to meet a colleague, client or candidate (or any other person) face to face, do it every time over phone or skype. It'll help enormously with your future recall and contextual association.

  2. If your job (or life) requires you to think strategically with a view to innovating, challenging the norm and seeking better solutions to problems, then look up. Staring into the distance, or daydreaming, encourages deep creative thought (read the report). The next time you're on the train platform or waiting for a friend, avoid the temptation to grab your phone and look up instead. Daydream or...

  3. Practice eye contact. Like my first takeaway, eye contact will encourage connection. A smile, a direct look into another person's eyes and a quick "Hello" can be a powerful thing. In stressful situations eye contact has the ability to calm people down by altering the chemicals in the brain to soothe and relax (like the time I freaked out 30m underwater while scuba diving, saved by the instructor's deep stare, mask to mask). Eye contact is a powerful form of connection and can have such a positive impact on both people.

  4. Get an eye test 😉

Peter says that I'm ageing and most people in their forties (I'm 43 and 3/4) will need to get glasses for either reading or long distance. The diagnosis? I've got a minor astigmatism in both eyes and I'll probably need glasses in 12 months. But not this year. This year I've got 2020 vision.

Keen to connect? Look me up and in the meantime check out Dr Kerr's report.

#connections #facetoface #loveyourwork #recruitment #social #lookup


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