Every day, up to a million people pass over the intersection outside Shibuya Station in Tokyo. With a capacity of 3,000 people in one exchange, it’s the biggest pedestrian crossing in the world.
Whenever the light turns green, a little race starts. Who gets across the quickest? Who takes the straightest line? Who’ll wiggle through without bumping into someone? It may not be as big in your town, but every day, that very same race happens billions of times at intersections around the globe.
I’m always fascinated by all the different players’ attitudes. Some just stare into space, others are completely absorbed by their phones. Some are lost in conversation or thought, while others can’t wait to continue their morning run.
But almost without fail, the person who makes it to the other side first is someone who paid attention. I try to be that person. I don’t always ‘win,’ but when I do, I’m halfway across by the time my fellow players look up.
There are lots of ways to improve your thinking. Train your memory, set goals, think positive, eat right, meditate, the list goes on. But they all pale in comparison to relentlessly using your best asset: your attention.
Even if it’s just waiting for the traffic light to change.