Pilot Performance – Are you Focused Enough?


2 minutes to read

Attention is a muscle! It’s in your hands to train it. Exactly as your muscles in your hands after some good training, they become solid and stronger, the same happens with the ones responsible for your attention. You can train them while in ground. At your home, when you are relaxed and alone. Why? Because you can use it during flight!

You need your full attention at times, but you may find it difficult due to some distractions that may interrupt your focus.


There are two types of Brain distractions:

Sensory: Your brain is focused on the one thing that you are staring. For example, you are looking at your screen right now. You can’t clearly pay attention, on what is going on around you, you are distracted by your phone/pc. So far so good, it is something that occurs for a small period of time and you can go back on the task at hand.

Emotional: It seems that this one is a little trickier. You are distracted by your own emotions. You might look like you are concentrated on the task but your mind is somewhere else. Actually is wandering.

” Mind Wandering is ubiquitous across all activities” said Dr. Mathew Killingsworth.

A study from the University of Harvard shows that during our day we spend 50% daydreaming. Yes, we are engaged in one task(job) but our mind strays somewhere else. Your focus is lost, so your performance declines. But how is performance really connected with focus? Let’s check the next chart to understand how both focus and performance are highly connected.

Optimal Performance

Clearly, we can see that our ultimate performance is when our focus-attention is on its higher level. Scientists have proved that small doses of cortisol -one of the STRESS hormones- amplify our focus.

>When stress hormones are low you feel bored.

>When stress hormones are high you lose performance and sometimes a fight or flight response is nearing.

Increase your Attention

Because it’s very difficult to control your hormones, you can exercise your attention and thus your performance, in other ways. As we said in the beginning, attention muscles in the brain are like the ones in our bodies and need a really good workout.

> All you have to do is to sit calm and focus on your breathing. Feel the breathe in, breathe out. Practice it for 5-10 minutes every day.

> Meditation helps in attention muscles.

It might sound funny, but it is used by thousands of people to increase their attention. Whenever you need it, you will be more able to maintain it.

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Reference: Daniel Goleman – The secret to high performance and fulfillment, Royal College {2013}
Nicholas A. Founder Enjoy flying / Private pilot / Helicopter Avionics Engineer