The Power of Attention
I had a friend visit the other day, and at some point during his visit, he found his way, unaccompanied, into my bedroom. As it turns out, while he was in there, he hid several rats. Of course, I didn’t notice them right away; after all, they were hidden. It was actually two days till I saw the first one. But once I saw the first one, as if by some miracle, I spotted the rest almost immediately. It was like I had new eyes, seeing more clearly than ever – as if they had scurried from their hiding places to a more easily observable spot.
Thankfully, they weren’t real rats. Thankfully, they weren’t even stuffed rats. Thankfully, they weren’t even rat-sized. They were just miniature, glow-in-the-dark rats. Kinda cute actually. Ok, well, maybe not, but not as terrifying as a real rat, that’s for sure!
The amazing thing was how terribly obvious the rats were once I noticed the first one. I then began to question myself, “How could I not see the others – they were so obvious.” But it wasn’t that they were so obvious. They weren’t any more obvious than the day before. What had changed was my attention.
When what we pay attention to changes, our experience changes.
When what we pay attention to changes, our experience changes. And, where we place our attention is our choice. It’s undiscovered country. It’s an unknown land. But why is this important, and how can it help?
If you hate or love your job, what are you paying attention to?
What is the difference between someone who has a life “full of meaning” and one who finds their life “meaningless”?
What is the difference between someone who believes they are unlucky vs. someone who feels lucky?
What’s the difference between those who see tons of opportunity in this economy vs. those who feel victimized, abused and helpless?
The list of questions could go on forever.
Everything we’re experiencing is influenced by where we are placing our attention.
So, as you’re experiencing a thing, ask yourself, “What am I paying attention to?” And, if what you’re experiencing is not what you wish to experience, consider how you could shift your attention to experience something new. Intentionally focus your attention on that which you wish to experience.
“Isn’t this naive?” you may ask. “Doesn’t this just cause “problems” to be ignored?” If you want “problems”, by all means – focus on them. But if you prefer solutions – focus your attention on solutions.
Notice the issue, but focus attention on the solution.
Simply a change in your awareness of what you’re paying attention to can change the game.
I'm so glad I found your site (er - that you found my site and vice versa!)
I know I'm going to enjoy coming here! I think about focus and attention a lot lately. You explain it well. I remember reading in a drivers manual that if you approach the scene of an accident you should not look at the accident, but look at where you want to go and you will be okay. Everything follows our focus!"Notice the issue, but focus attention on the solution." :-)
Thank you so much for stopping by. It is awesome to find each other!
I look forward to giving my attention to lifeforinstance.com also!
I appreciate the comment. Things are just getting rolling over here. :)