Information consumes attention, Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention – Herbert Simon
Before anything of significance can be accomplished with my clients and I, we will need focus, concentration, attention, the will, whatever name you want to call it.
This is THE starting point, before we take any steps down the path of creating the life experiences we would like to enjoy, we will need our undivided attention toward our vision.
Sounds simple right? This shouldn’t surprise anyone…
Most of you are aware that there is a wide spectrum of attention, from simply noticing another individual, to tuning into someone, all the way to compassion and empathy toward another individual and the attempt to understand the world they perceive.
If we have time constraints, we will more than likely just notice different phenomena throughout our day, rather than the more time consuming endeavors of attention like tuning in and compassion. If we never notice the potential depths in these events throughout our day, we never even go down the road of empathy and compassion.
I think we would all agree that attention today is under attack. This is quite apparent for me these days as I spend time with friends, family and loved ones, everyone is quite distracted with their phones and other devices. Everything seems to be competing for our attention. An obvious example for me is when I go to post something on social media, I find myself at times on a completely random tangent five minutes later, completely off course from my original objective. The incredible tools we use to connect with the global village, for instance our phones and computers, are also in the game of grabbing our attention and seducing us, it’s a double edge sword.
It’s time to reclaim our focused attention and direct it towards our vision. We have to be mindful and turn our attention on our attention. If we notice we are getting off track too often when using our computers or phones, even television, we need to set hard limits for ourselves and stick to them. The lights and sounds literally place you in a trance so be aware of this prior to engaging in the digital theatre with such devises.
Focused attention takes energy, like any action. Each choice we make is either getting us closer or further away from creating the life we see for ourselves. The average individual gets distracted 6-10 times a minute, which is staggering. Holding our attention is difficult, it’s energy draining, that’s why we need to consciously engage and then disengage to replenish our energy reserves.
I highly recommend to each of my clients they disengage from work or a particular project every 60-90 minutes. After the 60-90 minute mark mistakes happen much more often and we begin to lose our natural flow state. View your day as a collection of short sprints rather than a long linear marathon. After the 60-90 minute sprint that is free from distractions, my clients have found it helpful to go for a quick walk around the office to regroup and to relax the muscle of attention. This disengaged activity lets the mind gather information creatively without putting the rigid structure on your attention.
The wandering mind allows us the freedom to make connections between remote elements in a new and novel way. Once we begin to see, feel and/or hear these new connections and patterns with the relaxed mind, we will need to call on our focused attention to make it a reality.
Direct your attention on what you are directing your attention to each and every moment. Every day we have the opportunity to take one more step toward or away from our vision. The magic of your day is in your daily routine, what you care about, what you believe deserves your attention. Take an inventory today of the activities and other phenomena you are directing your attention toward. Don’t focus on hitting home runs, just hit singles choice by choice, word by word, thought by thought, and you will notice 24 hours is a long time if we are directing our attention wisely. Are you in control of your attention?
Attention has become a rare commodity, but it’s a very precious commodity and magic occurs when used properly,