Meet Dave

For over thirty years, I have been focused on the foundations of wellbeing, healthy communities, and leadership. After a twenty-year career teaching human development and neuroscience in independent schools, I founded Applied Attention to help individuals, teams, and organizations focus their attention and energy where it will make the greatest positive difference. Using principles drawn from modern scientific research and enduring wisdom, I have had the opportunity to work with leaders, educators, executives, parents, students, and athletes all over the world. I draw upon my degrees in biology from Williams College, a Master’s in Humanistic and Multicultural Education from SUNY New Paltz, and a clinical internship in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center.

I study, think about, and have conversations about well-being every chance I get. When I climb into bed at night, I am usually reading some new research about the brain and behavior or human performance. Perhaps this makes me a bit nerdy, but I love it.

There is nothing more exciting for me than watching people discover the calm, confidence, and connection that they are really capable of. The hair stands up on the back of my neck when I think about it. Conversely, when I see people struggling under the weight of perceived limitations, self-doubt, unnecessary conflict, and the illusion of disconnection, I feel a sinking feeling in my gut and a heaviness in my chest.

I have experienced many of the challenges my clients face — I have worked with them using exactly the same techniques I now teach. Having been driven in the past by restlessness, boredom, frustration, anxiety, fear, and anger, I sometimes laugh out loud at the difference between what my days were like then and what my days are like now.

I spent much of my life looking for the right situation so that I could be happy. I pursued relationships, achievements, acknowledgement, admiration, praise, and reward. No matter how much external validation I received, fulfillment seemed to elude me.

Life felt like a treadmill upon which I chased the solution that I believed was waiting just out of reach on the horizon. Hope was frequently followed by a heavy emptiness when the solution failed to arrive or satisfy. I was exhausted at the end of each day because so much energy was spent trying to manage how others felt or thought about me. Anxiety and panic became so overwhelming in my mid-twenties, that I punched a wall and woke up in the hospital with pins holding my hand together.

It was clear that something had to change. I wanted to understand the lasting wisdom about living a good life. So I read the seminal works from Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Taoism, Judaism, Stoicism, Humanism, Positivism, Holism, and Empiricism. I also studied as much research related to human well-being as I could get my hands on. I was fascinated with how humans could flourish in extremely challenging situations, how our brains shape our experience, and how our behavior shapes our brains.

My work with people represents what I have learned over the last twenty-five years in the fields of well-being, neuroscience, performance, and group dynamics. The principles and practices I teach have been distilled and synthesized from thousands of years of enduring wisdom, thousands of scientific studies, and thousands of conversations with colleagues, students, friends, and clients.

Applied Attention is a mindfulness consulting company that partners with businesses, schools, and individuals to bridge the gap between what matters most and how time and energy are used. The goal is to teach people how to consistently refocus on what is present, what is important, and what is effective. This simple and powerful practice builds the fundamental skills necessary to embrace challenge, learn from others, and thrive in any circumstance. The result for individuals is greater engagement, flexibility, and resilience. Within teams and organizations, this practice creates powerfully positive and purposeful cultures.

I am incredibly grateful that I get to spend my time teaching this practice and observing the positive impact it has upon people’s lives, relationships, and communities. My most sincere hope is that you are practicing the life you really want.

The only thing I enjoy more than my work is spending time with my family.