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Do you think you would notice if someone you were giving directions to was suddenly replaced by someone else? Yes? Perhaps not! 

Researchers at Harvard University tested fifteen people in such a scenario. The unsuspecting subjects of the experiment were walking down the street and a researcher dressed as a “passer-by” (who was in fact part of the research team) asked them for directions. As the subject was giving the directions to the passer-by, two workmen rudely barged between them carrying a door. 

In the brief moment that the subject was behind the door, the passer-by (researcher) switched places with one of the workmen. The subject was left giving directions to a different person who was taller, wearing different clothes and had a different voice. Eight of the fifteen subjects failed to spot the change!

This is a classic example of what is called “change blindness” when your attention is so closely focused on a task that you fail to notice a very significant change in your visual field. The problem is not divided attention but limited capacity to process attention in the conscious mind. 

This highlights the fact that attention is primarily a conscious activity. The visual experience of change requires focused visual attention, which takes up a lot of processing capacity. In the “present moment” (this is the period of short-term memory span of 1-2 seconds) the conscious mind has a processing capacity of only 127 bits of information per second or about five separate items of thought (plus or minus two). That’s why we miss things at a conscious level. And that's why we need to pay more conscious attention to what's happening around us.

‎"Most of us miss most of our life!" This stark comment is from the Zen Psychologist, David Brazier It passes by as you busily fill-up your days with hurry and bustle—doing things, being active and productive, or alternatively just being bored! To be adaptive, free and living authentically you require perceptive awareness. This includes heightened levels of attention, clear perception and awareness formed by your intuitive and analytical minds working in harmony. To be aware is "to be conscious of" what is happening in the present moment. It simply means that you know your thoughts and actions. You are aware of yourself and your situation. Awareness has its roots in two Latin words conscious and scire 'to know,' and is synonymous with consciousness. This 'knowingness' is a state, an outcome or result of increased attentiveness. It is brought about through the processes of attention and perception. Read more at 
How young do you need to be to start living authentically? It sounds like a stupid question. Surely you should be living authentically all your life. Well that depends on whether you are allowed to or not. The case of the 16 year old Dutch girl Laura Dekker highlights this issue. Ever since she was a toddler she wanted to sail alone around the world. This was no pipe dream. Laura was born on a yacht during her parents seven year round the world voyage before their divorce. She was more comfortable on a boat than on dry land so her dream was grounded in practical reality.
When she was 13 she took her fathers yacht and sailed it single handed from Holland to England encountering bad weather but arriving safely. Her reward was to be arrested by the British police. When she announced that she would sail around the world on her own the Dutch authorities made her a ward of the State and forbade her to sail. Her mother was vehemently against the plan but her father, at first reluctant, eventually supported her. With the help of a friendly lawyer they beat the Dutch authorities and Laura completed her 518 day solo voyage sound the world (the youngest person ever at 16) when she landed at the Caribbean island of St Maarten in January 2012.
This remarkable story told in The Sunday Times highlights the courage and tenacity required in Being You – becoming and remaining truly authentic. Laura’s journey told with elegant simplicity on her blog is summed up in her own words: “I did it just for myself.”
Her experience neatly follows the structure of the 7 Pillars of the Freedom Code – the implementation path of Adaptive Freedom. Laura was acutely attentive and aware of her needs and what she wanted to achieve (1. Perceptive Awareness). This included conscious attention while on board. She wrote: “In tricky moments, such as stormy weather, I just focus on what needs to be done to control the situation, step by step.”
She was clearly aligned in mind and body with the elemental forces that contrived to bring her dream to reality (2. Alignment with Universal Energy). To fulfil your potential requires more than just dreaming: it must be backed up with concrete plans, detailed preparation and action (3. Pursue Purposive Action).
Though alone she remained in constant contact with her family, friends and supporters, and felt deeply connected to them despite the distance. She was also intimately connected with the sun, wind and sea and all the creatures around her – not to mention her closest companion, her boat ‘Guppy’ (4. Connect and Communicate).
Laura has a strong acceptance of her self, her life and her moment in that life. However, she has not so far been able to accept the way she was treated by Dutch officialdom though she has been reconciled again with her mother (5. Acceptance). To be a solo circumnavigator on a small yacht requires a ready willingness to adapt to change at every opportunity (6. Adaptability) and her blog is full of the delight she found in every day at sea—even doing her school work (7. Animation and Appreciation). She wrote “I look back with joy at the adventures of the past year.
Read Laura’s Blog

The philosophy of Adaptive Freedom highlights 7 Qualities of Authenticity. The first is Control:

Self-control is the quality of self-mastery aligned with self-reliance. It arises from self-awareness. When you are self-aware you are focused and attentive to what is happening in your world, and you see events and people accurately with clear perception. You are aware of your needs, you know your priorities and you are able to avoid distractions and focus appropriate energies on achieving your goals. Self-control requires that you become aware of your intuitive nature, have the capacity for introspection, be open to positive feedback and be willing to look for new perspectives in every situation. This paradoxically allows you time to be original, spontaneous and free.
Each of the 7 Qualities of Authenticity is linked to one of the 7 Pillars of the Freedom Code. Control is linked to the 1st Pillar: Perceptive Awareness.

The process of becoming adaptively free takes place in your lived experience. If it is true, as the philosophy of Adaptive Freedom claims that we make or shape ourselves in the context of our life as we live it, then it is in acting and experimenting followed by observing results and reflecting on their consequences that we learn and grow. Adaptive freedom is therefore action-based learning. While the effective use of your mental capacities is important Adaptive freedom holds that ultimately you do not ‘think’ yourself into meaningful and purposive action, you ‘act’ yourself into meaningful and purposeful thinking. You should look therefore to become aware of and understand your behavior, especially when it is automatic or appears to occur without your conscious approval. This involves improving your capacity for focused attention and self-awareness.

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