I was 12. In my first year of high school. Learning new subjects, compulsory subjects that I had no interest in.
The first word I learned in German was “Achtung”.
My teacher was very fond of saying it.
I’d heard it in the war movies my dad was fond of, too.
Little did I know how important “attention”, in any language, would become in my life.
Today’s economy, including vast tech profits from blogging and social media, is predicated on this oh so powerful concept.
If people aren’t paying attention to you, they won’t be paying money to you, or anything else, either.
Like him or loathe him, Donald Trump, is brilliant at getting attention. In television, real estate and presidential campaigns, the ability to garner attention is one of the key drivers of success. And, as Donald has discovered more recently, attention is a double-edged sword that can just as easily bring failure.
Whilst you’re reading this you’re probably not paying attention to the temperature your skin is feeling, how hungry your stomach is, the smell of your body odour, the taste of the saliva in your mouth, the way your face is resting, the sounds surrounding you and a thousand other things. The Reticular Activating System in your brain has filtered them out so you can focus your attention on learning (great decision by the way! ;-).
Have you ever had the experience where you’ve bought a new car or new dress and then suddenly you see it appearing everywhere? It’s not because they weren’t there before. It’s just that now you’ve started paying attention, you can see what has always been there. It’s the job of the brain to *not* notice most things. You are receiving information on things all the time – and 99.9% of things are filtered out from your attention automatically by the brain.
In the bible, the word “attention” is used more in Proverbs than in any other book. The writer of Proverbs was the wisest man in all the world. He urges us to pay attention to wisdom, understanding, words of instruction.
King Solomon also warns kings that when the leader is paying attention to lies it can multiply results and transform all of his team into “wicked” servants. Be very careful about placing the full force of your organisation on something that no-one should be paying attention to.
Where you place your attention is a fundamental tenet of wisdom. If you use your attention wisely, strategically, it can radically transform your results.
I’m amazed what most people *think* is their biggest problem. It might be their weight, their debt, their back pain, their partner. But really, the source of most of these problems, is that they are paying attention to the wrong things. Even the fact that they think these problems are their biggest problem is, more often than not, the cause as well as the symptom of their real problems. And usually it is also blocking them from seeing the solutions they need.
Political campaigners know that there are all kinds of things we can give attention to; sex, sports, stocks, soap operas… We can get all caught up in gossip, criticism, fear… and politics.
Or we can give our attention to faith, opportunities, success, profits, the best in people, things we can be thankful for, tolerance, patience, amazing grace, love.
Every day, every second really, you have a fresh opportunity to choose where to place your attention. Do it strategically, and you’ll find that one act alone will transform your results.
If I haven’t said it to you before, thank you for reading. I appreciate your attention.