May I have your attention please?

Are we as wise with our attention as we try to be with our money?
Are we as wise with our attention as we try to be with our money? | Source

May I have your attention please?

… and don’t worry I’m not going to enquire about if the genuine “Slim Shady” will be upstanding. What I will enquire about is a currency that is worth more than time or money. What do you think that could be? I mean really think about it. Stop reading for a minute, and start thinking.

Getting close?

Figured it out yet?

I’ll give you a clue: It’s partly a trick question. You may have guessed it from the title of this article. Yes, attention. You see, nearly everything in our world is successful or not based on how much attention it gets.

A book could be linguistically immaculate and be coined a failure if it didn’t sell, or spread around to many people. Something that is actually good generally becomes quite popular, but in this age of social media something that is extremely famous doesn’t necessarily have to be good in its craft. Someone could be famous because of something risqué that they did, making them infamous. A piece of art could be well known based on its simplicity, and how much the artist charges for it. As long as it gets our attention.

But as I mentioned earlier, there is a trick to the question. Something that gets our attention will invariably, and inevitably take up our time. Quality time is all about the attention you pay to the other person. If you listen to the important details, and even the not so important details they will feel valued. They will feel like you have paid them a significant amount of attention.

I was watching a Youtube video by Numberphile, and in it a spokesperson for Youtube mentioned that they count the views each video has as currency. This is logical enough. The videos that have amassed the most views are attracting more views to their site, and thus, more business.

Therefore everything, everyone rather is out to get at our attention these days. What shiny new product can they offer? What’s another way they can reach us? Things are constantly being made to suit even minor needs or wants, as long as they can hold our interest in some way. This includes things such as seat warmers in cars, devices like PC’s that we can actually carry around with us (hinting at i-pads here for those that didn’t know) , and phones that can do nearly everything we could possibly need, oh and also call people! Speaking of phones, games and books among other things have been remade for the new smart phones. Popular brands are now on Facebook or Twitter, or other social media sites, it’s getting harder and harder to get away from them! It is good to be able to check them on the go, but do we really always need to? We survived without all these incessant apps once upon a time.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying they are wrong, I’m just saying that when something demands our attention so much that we start to lose ourselves if we don’t have them, then there is something wrong. I personally think there’s a huge difference between playing games etc as a hobby, and just using them as a time waster (Farmville anyone?) It’s almost another catch 22 that the more time we spend doing these things, the more time we feel like we have to spend on them (“But I almost have enough for the next – Fill in the blank here”).

There is another important factor about our attention that I would like to address here. How much of it we give doing various things. I’m not necessarily talking about time here, but like I mentioned earlier, the quality. Which brings us back to our phones, funnily enough. When you’re in public and you are more focused on your phone than the people around you, it’s time to stop and think. This device in your hand, initially, is for keeping us in contact with other people. If it’s stopping us from having contact with people in our very presence, then clearly something is wrong. Sometimes there may be an emergency that may justify it. But that doesn’t mean that you should be rude to others around you in that time. There are good and bad ways to multi-task. If you can read a book while safely walking on a treadmill, then Kudos to you. If you can’t then remember it isn’t necessary to do so, doing them both is just a bonus. You can do them separately. If you can’t be in the presence of your phone and others at the same time, then put it away. Give people the quality time that you would like someone to give to you.

Thank you for giving this article your attention – it is much appreciated.

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