Friday Review: Attention

Friday Review: Attention

What has held your attention over the last year? Here are a few related posts you may have missed.

 

“By going out of your mind, you come to your senses.”

 

 

“When you pay attention to boredom, it gets unbelievably interesting.”

 

 

 

 

“For lack of attention, a thousand forms of loveliness elude us everyday.”

 

 

 

If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality

“If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?”

—Arthur Aron — A More Beautiful Question

Image from Unsplash by Kenny Eliason

We are all works in progress if we choose to be.

From the day we are born, we have the capacity to take in all types of inputs and mix them with our previous experiences. This ongoing journey helps us become a better version of ourselves.

When it comes to our prized abilities and qualities, we all likely have some level of competency.

EXERCISE:

What qualities and personal characteristics do you value most?

How would you rate yourself in these areas?

Where can and will you choose to focus your attention and efforts today?

 We can be telescopes or microscopes

We can be telescopes or microscopes. We sharpen the mind through focused attention.

—Calm App Reflection

Image from Unsplash by Jeff Nissen

Compared to other creatures in the animal kingdom our natural abilities to perceive our world can appear less than remarkable.

  • Dogs have 300 million scent-seeking receptors compared to six million for humans.
  • Bats navigate in the absence of light by sending out ultrasounds and can analyze the signals that bounce back.
  • Spiders construct sensory nets where their webs can capture the slightest vibrations.
  • Snakes and other reptiles are sensitive to infrared.
  • Bees and many birds are sensitive to ultraviolet.

Fortunately, we humans have a solid mix of sensory abilities and the wonderful capacity to expand them through the development of amazing technological innovations.

EXERCISE:

How and in what ways can you use your mind and focused attention to expand your perceptional abilities and interact more successfully with the world around you?

I think you should always bear in mind that entropy is not on your side

“I think you should always bear in mind that entropy is not on your side.”

—Elon Musk, entrepreneur, investor, and business magnate

Image from Unsplash by Ravi Patel

I’ve recently noticed more and more people in my communities simplifying their lives as they age. Entropy causes both people and things to fall apart, and it takes considerable energy and effort to keep things in working order. With this in mind and with the hands of time always turning, we get to choose where to focus our energies to keep our most essential life elements going and slow entropy’s inevitable victory.

EXERCISE:

What essential infrastructure projects in your life are getting the most attention and energy? Where do the issues of health and quality relationship stand on your list of priorities? What other areas are most important to maintain in good working order for as long as possible?

A penny will hide the biggest star in the universe

“A penny will hide the biggest star in the universe if you hold it close enough to your eye.”

—Samuel Grafton, 20th Century American Journalist

Image from Unsplash by Daniil Kuželev

We all experience hyper-focus from time to time. Some top priority grabs our complete attention and the rest of the world just disappears.

What are the benefits and costs to you personally and professionally in such situations? What is one such priority that comes to mind today or in the recent past where this was an opportunity or an issue?

EXERCISE:

Where in your life is keeping things too close blocking your view of other stars that need your attention?

Friday Review: Attention

FRIDAY REVIEW: ATTENTION

What has been the focus of your attention over the last year? Here are a few attention-related posts you may have missed.

 

 

“In one hand I have a dream, and in the other I have an obstacle. Tell me, which one grabs your attention?”

 

 

 

“By going out of your mind, you come to your senses.”

 

 

 

 

“Today will be what you make of it.”

 

 

 

 

 

“Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”

“Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”

—Jessica Howell, American actress and producer

Image from Unsplash by Zdeněk Macháček

Consider the concepts of entropy and order.

The first is about how things pursue a random path of coming apart. The second pertains to things coming together in a more organized state.

Where have some of the good things in your life and our world fallen apart? How many of these issues are related to entropy, bad luck, or perhaps our lack of attention and effort to bring order to these matters?

Where are things beginning to fall together—not by chance, but by individuals and communities of shared vision and values choosing to create their own good once again?

EXERCISE:

Where and how can you play a bigger, more positive role in your world so that better things will fall together? Consider placing the following quote by Desmond Tutu somewhere you will see it often—and consider reading my post about it from a few years ago.

“Do your little bit of good whoever you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”

“Your attention is being spammed all day long.”

“Your attention is being spammed all day long.”

—Michael S. Hyatt, American Leadership Expert

Image from Unsplash by Stephen Phillips

We can all easily think of a handful of spammy occurrences in our day, and agree that spam is something we detest and wish to avoid. Many of us have begun using spam detection and elimination tools to lighten the load.

Despite our efforts, few of us experience the full level of peace, calm, and freedom we desire throughout our days.

Over the past few decades, top astrophysicists introduced the phenomena of dark matter as the reason galaxies are held together in diverse and beautiful shapes. It is estimated that there is actually five times as much dark matter as regular matter that makes up the stars and planets we see.

EXERCISE:

What if there were five times the amount of spam than what we actually detect?

How might looking into the dark world of spam and its gravitational pull on our attention release us to lead far better lives?

“Rather than choose ‘all’ or ‘nothing,’ choose ‘a little something.’”

“Rather than choose ‘all’ or ‘nothing,’ choose ‘a little something.’”

—Chip & Dan Heath – Decisive

Image from Amazon

It seems like it is necessary to “go big or go home” in order to get attention these days. The noise levels are so high that all in efforts are required to stand out.

How is this approach working for you or others in your personal and professional communities?

Growing up, my parents and grandparents believed that being loud and proud was not the path of a good life, and that humility and doing most things in moderation was the way to go.

EXERCISE:

Where in your life would taking the “a little something” approach be the wisest strategy to pursue? Where would finding a more moderate middle ground offer the right balance you may be seeking?

“For lack of attention, a thousand forms of loveliness elude us everyday.”

“For lack of attention, a thousand forms of loveliness elude us everyday.”

—Evelyn Underhill, 20th Century English writer and pacifist

Image from Unsplash by Chase Clark

I can still recall that I received an “E” in work habits in first grade at Creighton Elementary School in Philadelphia.

The exact words written by my teacher, Mrs. Gray were, “Barry has difficulty paying attention.”

Things must have improved a bit since I ended up with a “B” by the end of the year.

How is your level of focus and attention on your personal and professional priorities these days?

How engaged are you in your key relationships? Given the many distracting challenges facing all of us, what has your attention? To what degree are you fully observing the good and loveliness in the world?

EXERCISE:

Consider going back to the old game of Hide and Seek to focus on the many forms of loveliness all around. What approaches and strategies will you employ to not let them elude you?