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Are You Paying Attention?

Updated on June 18, 2010

What Is Attention?

We have all been asked at sometime or another, "Are You Paying Attention? As children we often turned our faces towards the questioner and nodded or mumbled a rather absent, "Yes." What is Attention? It is vital that if you want to give your attention to someone or something you first understand exactly what attention means and what it is. Attending is an ability; it is the ability to notice, to listen. It is derived from the Latin word attendere –reach toward. Attentionis notice or interest; concentration, mental focus; appropriate treatment; a considerate or affectionate act. When your interest becomes fixed on someone or something, you are using your attention. Therefore in order to keep your attention on someone or something it has to be of interest to you – no interest = no attention.

Below in this article you will find exercises that will assist you to increase and control your attention.

As both children and as adults demands were and are made for us to pay attention and if you are not interested in the person, subject, or thing you will be hard pressed to pay them or it any attention. If the person, subject or thing is of interest to you then you will want to give it your attention - your full attention. Over years of having increasing demands made for our attention we often find ourselves hard pressed to give anyone or anything our full attention. We are often frustrated that we cannot seem to keep our attention on the someone or something we want to place it on and keep it on. However, in order to succeed at anything in life it is necessary that we do just that.

"Energy Flows Where Attention Goes"

Why Is Your Attention Important?

‘Anonymous’ has kindly answered for us yet another of life’s queries in stating, “energy flows where attention goes ”. To be depleted of energy, to run out of steam, or to feel drained; is wearing, often debilitating and not in the least bit fun. It is hard on you, your body, your life and your relationship withothers and with things. It is important therefore that if you want to increase your energy you first have to increase your attention.

There are many people, things and circumstances in life that demand our attention. We have all sat in classrooms in schools across the globe where we have heard the teacher or instructor say such things as “May I have your attention, please?” (Dare we say, “No you may not, it is valuable to me?”) or “Pay attention!” (Dare we say, “At what cost to me?”). We have all struggled to give our attention to that which holds no interest to us or that we do not see or appreciate the value in giving our attention to. In addition it is very difficult, if not impossible to give our attention to someone who is not present as is often the case with the person who is demanding it of us. They are not even there to receive our attention given that their own attention is elsewhere. Take for instance the person asking you the question, “How are you?” where are they when you respond to that question? They ask the question and then “bug out” before you even have a chance to respond and you are left with your attention fixed on responding to someone who has no interest whatsoever in your answer. Ift hey were interested they would give you their attention. Instead they flit in like a butterfly with the question and are off like a hummingbird before you even get your mouth open to respond.

Focus, Focus, Focus

Your attention, focused concentration, determines where you invest your life force, your energy. It is imperative that you invest wisely. In today’s society there is a huge assortment of people and things vying for your attention and they do so because they know if they have your attention you will invest your energy. It is important that you have control of your attention because having control of your attention gives you control over your own energy, your own life force.

Control Of Your Attention = Control Of Your Energy

How To Take Control Of Your Attention

In order to increase something you have to first have control of it. Most of us have some of our attention tied up on things that are beyond our control. Therefore it is important to determine what you can and cannot control. There are a lot of conversations that take place concerning the weather, inane, rote,socially safe chats about something we have absolutely no control over. If you are going to give your attention to something why not give it to something that you have control over? Why not knowingly control your attention rather than allowing others to control it? Why give the control of your attention over to subconscious programs when you can actually take charge of where you place your attention? The more attention you have freed up the more energy you have available to you to invest in the areas of life and the people in your life that you need and want to invest in.

The first thing that you need to learn in order to free up attention that you have stuck in areas of the past, present or future that do not contribute to you, your well-being, your relationships, your financial health or your physical health. In order to free up your attention you have to come out of your trance state and your robotic,automated actions, reactions and responses.

Exercise Your Attention

Attention Exercises

A simple exercise that will allow you to begin to fix and unfix your attention follows; you will need to grab a partner to do this one.

You and your partner can alternate doing this exercise.

One acts as coach while the other acts as client.

Chose an object (it can be anything you chose, an invoice, a mess in your kitchen, the laundry, a twenty dollar bill, etc.)

Coach: “Notice that (selected object)”. Acknowledge when object has been noticed with Thank You.

Simply repeat the command “Notice that….” until the ‘client’ has a noticeable shift in mood level, is able to fix and unfix their attention easily, or they have an ‘aha’. If you notice your ‘client’s’ attention sticking then you can ask, “What’s happening?” Have them tell you about it and acknowledge their answer with a “Thank You”. Do not get into a conversation with them about it, do not add your “story” or give an opinion, simply acknowledge their answer and go back to the command “Notice that…….”.

This simple little exercise works wonders in fixing and unfixing attention and it goes a long way to breaking one out of a robotic or trance state.

A quick fix for attention that is fixed on or tied up in the past (again run with a partner) is:

“Look around here and find some someone or something you could get the idea of liking very much.”

Acknowledge the answer.

“Put your attention fully on that (name the someone or something).”

Acknowledge the answer.

Repeat this process until the ‘client’ is able to determine then and now differences or similarities and likenesses between the earlier non optimum environment and their present environment. As these distinctions take place their attention and therefore their energy will free up and unstuck from past unwanted conditions.

Make A List

Incomplete Cycles Are Real Attention Grabbers

The majority of us have incomplete cycles that rob of us of our ability to be in present time and to focus our attention on what is right here, right now. We have incomplete dreams, incomplete goals, incomplete promises, an incomplete area or areas of study, incomplete to do lists of all sizes, types and descriptions.

Make a complete list of ALL your incomplete cycles. Once your list is complete number them by orders of importance. There is often one major incomplete cycle that if completed will allow for a quick handling of the rest of your list.

The next list to make is a list of all that you want to remove from your life. This list may include things, addictions, people, and places. Again, renumber them by orders of importance. Things you can sell, addictions you can forgive yourself for and let go of, the people in your life that you no longer want in your life, bless them and let them go onto their greater good as you go on with yours.

"Give whatever you are doing and whoever you are with the gift of your attention." -- JIM ROHN

Now that you have a good deal of your attention unfixed and back in your control you will feel an increase in energy to invest in that which you consciously chose to give your attention to. If you feel yourself getting stuck, your attention beginning to fixate on a person or a condition simply grab a partner and run through the exercises or get out your paper and pen and make yourself a list. Put your attention on those people, things and conditions that you need and want in your life and your energy cannot help but follow. And remember, “Energy flows where attention goes.”


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    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      Brilliant! I love this Hub. Will be back for more!'

      Love and peace


    • raisingme profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Fraser Valley, British Columbia

      Thank you. You obviously live far away from beautiful B.C.'s Lower Mainland. We have the ark 3/4's built it has been raining (not sprinkling, not showering, BUT RAINING) since April. However, when and if summer does arrive I will enjoy it until then I'm hanging in there with the good thoughts!

    • epigramman profile image


      8 years ago

      are you paying attention - yes - to your hubs!

      And I believe that you were my first follower - well I am back to thank you my fellow Canadian - keep thinking good thoughts and enjoy the summer!

    • raisingme profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Fraser Valley, British Columbia

      Thank You Debarshi - I am a work in progress who is making progress! I am delighted that you have found value in what I have to share!

    • Debarshi Dutta profile image

      Debarshi Dutta 

      8 years ago from Calcutta

      I can clearly see that you are a great instructor and at heart a wonderful person with sound advice. And you are most valuable to society.

      Great Hub.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Hey there, excellent hub! I love your style. Keep up the inspiring work.

    • raisingme profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Fraser Valley, British Columbia

      That would depend entirely on what you are concentrating upon, before you can concentrate on anything you have to give it your attention - You give it your attention - concentrating is a function of your mind but it is not you.

    • ethel smith profile image

      Ethel Smith 

      8 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Yes concentratio is the key to so many things I guess

    • raisingme profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Fraser Valley, British Columbia

      Thank you Nell. Great idea in what you did with your son - a small thing to do can be a great set up for success! Friendships are only friendships if there is a two way flow - an exchange, anything other than that tends to turn into a dragon! I understand about "not coming by sooner", HubPages is like a smorgasbord and you are either cooking for it or eating and such a great and diverse selection. I consider having your attention to be a gift and I thank you for it!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      8 years ago from England

      Hi, this is so right. Bug out! ha ha I know that one very well! it does drive me mad when someone asks how you are and then whittles on about something else! I have also used the attention thing with my son when he was small, I used to make him look at a picture in a book and explain exactly what he was seeing, what it does and what it was for. great way of making him pay attention. Also the bit about getting rid of things that take up your attention. Hence the getting rid of a certain friend who always begged my attention to such an extent I forgot other things. great hub. cheers nell

      Sorry for not coming by sooner, but I seem to be either writing or answering, glad you grabbed my attention again, isn't it amazing how many times we use that word? never thought of it before!


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