If time is our most scarce resource, then what we pay attention to is our most significant investment.
Avoidance of pain, denial, and lying are forms of refusing to pay attention.
What you pay attention to changes your relationship with that thing, that person, or that experience.
For today let's consider three categories of paying attention: before, during, and after.
Before paying attention.
There is endless information, noise, gossip, and distraction, and only a finite amount of energy you can give to paying attention.
To best invest your attention, be thoughtful about what you let into your mind. Because your attention is such a limited asset, you must be diligent about what you allow yourself to be influenced by.
Be very intentional about what you choose to let into your life: what information, words, music, and ideas do you expose yourself to?
Set boundaries, limits, or say no to that which will not help you become the person you want to be.
If you want to change something, choose to pay attention to it. Simply by tracking your food, mood, or money, you will experience growth because you will see reality more clearly, enabling you to make better choices.
During paying attention.
The more the world becomes distracted, hurried, and shallow, the more valuable it is to concentrate, slow down, and pay attention to meaningful ideas and experiences.
Seek mastery in the art of paying attention. Learn to notice details. Become skilled in concentration and deep presence. Learn to prioritize sitting in wonder.
Delight in the details of the moment. Practice sitting in silence daily, let go of the demands of the day and pay attention.
Invest in immersive experiences: enter deeply into the feelings of a song, stay at a monastic community, explore a child's imaginary world, worship at a church, or get outside in nature away from people and revel in it.
After paying attention.
After you pay attention to something valuable, return to it.
Spaced repetition is the practice of returning to an idea or a concept over time to reinforce your memory and learning of that concept.
Examples of spaced repetition:
- reviewing what you read through Readwise
- talking about what you have learned
- retelling stories of meaningful moments
- teaching what you know
- sharing what you are grateful for
- journaling what you think
Creativity, integrity, intimacy, transformation, and contentment. All the best stuff comes when we pay attention.
"Before you start something, think of the ways it could end. Sometimes the smart choice is to say no to the whole game."
Derek Sivers, Hell Yeah or No
"What the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation. Whether I'm online or not, my mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski. "
John Mark Comer, The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry
How am I experiencing wonder, awe, or worship today?
What, or who do I want to pay attention to?
What boundaries do I need to help me stop paying attention to something that is not helping me flourish?
In the area I want to grow in, how can I improve my attention in the three categories of before, during, and after?
If there is anything you have questions about or you'd like me to pay attention to and write more about, please let me know.