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Articles

2 Life-Changing Realizations About Your Attention

September 25, 2017

Writing is lightning - speech is thunder.

 

 

Our words take up the dimension known as space-time.

 

When I write this sentence, I convey an idea that then requires you to spend mental energy absorbing, comprehending, and compartmentalizing.  Once your mental energy is applied on a specific thought, it cannot then occupy another location at the same time.

 

In english: When you speak, you hijack other people’s attention because it can’t be in two places at once.

 

Every. single. word. you. use. is either going to support someone else’s thought process or take away from it.  

 

Are the things you’re choosing to say helpful?

 

Are they supportive or encouraging?

 

Are they necessary?

 

Too often we open our mouths and just spew.  We’ve had so much garbage go in that we can’t help but word vomit it all back out again just to make some room.

 

This process dilutes our attention, our focus, and ultimately our productivity.

 

Think of the last time you had your attention diverted from something you were thinking about.  My guess is you probably don’t have to go back too far as none of us really value each other’s attention these days.  But still the exercise is useful, so think back to the last time you had your attention hijacked by someone, whether it was intentional or not.

 

It can be the news that was on in the morning while you made breakfast, or the person talking on a cell phone inside of a cafe, or your colleague who wants to catch up about the weekend once you just hit your work stride.  

 

Our attention is stolen from us all the time.  Yet, we scratch our heads and wonder why we’re not productive at the end of the day when we couldn’t even find stillness to finish a train of thought.

 

This is how it goes though.  Life happens, people come and go, and our attention will wander.  That is the way of the modern life.  We don’t have control over the noise.  

 

But, we very much have control over two much more important things:

1. Developing a Practice of Clarity (uninterrupted time devoted to thought)

2. Developing an Economy of Language (choosing our words carefully)

 

The first is pretty simple.  

 

1. Developing a Practice of Clarity

I’m talking about a meditation practice, or a lunch walk through the park, or a long hot bath where you can just be with your thoughts on a daily basis.  This practice helps us sort through the tangled web of thoughts, information, feelings, and stimulus to find some serenity in thinking for ourselves and discarding what we no longer need.

 

The second is a little more complex and will only come naturally with time given to the first.  


When you first begin to value the act of cleaning up your own attention, you’ll start to realize just how much of a difference it makes in your alertness, your clarity, and your ability to be on purpose in your work overall.  The more keen you are to this realization, the easier it is to be compassionate towards other’s attention and to use it responsibly.

 

2. Developing an Economy of Language

Listen to the sentences you string together in a conversation and ask yourself a few questions at the end;

 

“Am I saying the words others need to hear, or the words I need to hear myself say?”

-Ego is ever present and often times we use other’s attention as an opportunity to talk through some of our own clutter.  Pay attention to your ideas expressed and ask yourself if you were genuinely sharing value in the conversation.  

 

“Are these words necessary?”  

-It seems conversations can mull along for tens of minutes easily without either person batting an eye at the fact that nothing of value has been exchanged yet.  Pay attention and see if either person is benefitting from the conversation.  If not, feel free to change subjects (your conversation partner will be grateful) or politely leave the conversation altogether.

 

“Am I being helpful or supportive?”

-Too often an entire conversation goes by and we’ve failed to compliment, encourage, or dive deeper with a person who just chose to share their limited time on earth with us.  Take that opportunity with them to engage meaningfully and be a light in their world.

 

“Am I being present?”

-Were you listening to what the other person had to say, or were you thinking about what you would share next?  Did you notice their new haircut, or were you too busy thinking about the next thing you were running off to?  This is a hard world to be present in, but slowing it down and taking a breath while we interact with one another can be the difference between a forgotten wasted minute of a day and the best minutes of the day.    

 

**A great trick to being present is to try and notice the other person’s eye color.  

 

In the end, I’ve just hijacked your attention for a short amount of time, and your life and perspective will now forever be different because of it whether you agree with this or not.  

 

Every time you open your mouth you have someone’s attention in your hands.  

 

Choose to be a light.  Choose to come from love.  Choose to be of value.  

 

Choose to help make the world a better place every time you open your mouth, and if you’re not prepared to do that, please, keep it closed.  The world has enough people trying to steal our attention.

 

 

 

 

-- 

With gratitude,

Dennis McGinley

Founder, Performance & Adventure Coach 

dennis@striventllc.com

striventcoaching.com

 

"See life as an adventure!"

 

FREE RESOURCES:

If you want to expand, grow, and develop, the following resources are available to you 100% FREE!  

 

     1. The first will pop up after a few seconds on the site (I know, sorry about that, but it’s a really awesome resource and it’s 100% FREE so I feel like it’s a fair deal).  It’s called the Habit Builder, and I designed it to help create momentum in the tasks that are important to you by visually tracking your progress over a few weeks. 

 

     2. The second is a worksheet called “Gaining Clarity” and is a series of open ended questions that encourage you to think deeply about what the most appealing version of your life looks like and helps you create a ROADMAP for thinking through the steps to achieve that end. 

 

     3. If you've done both of those and we haven't had a conversation yet, it's time to schedule a free Discovery Call with me so we can find our more about each other and see if we can't make your life more incredible! 

 

 

 

 

 

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