I struggle with paying attention. My life coach once told me, “Winston you have the shiny ball syndrome”. I can be in the middle of a deep conversation and I see a shiny ball bounce by and it immediately captures my full attention. I refer to myself as the rabbit hunter, as I so often find myself wandering down yet another rabbit trail.
One of the definitions of attention is the action of dealing with or taking special care of someone or something. There is a cost to paying attention to someone or something. It requires our willingness to put things down, adapt our schedules, learn new things, widen our horizons, at times putting others needs above our own. Have you ever had a conversation with someone while they were texting on a phone or typing on a computer?
Few things send a more dramatic signal to someone than not giving them your full attention. Unfortunately some pride themselves on multitasking and think it a skill to be able to participate in multiple things at once. It is in fact becoming a commonly accepted trademark of our culture rarely challenged. For me the more important skill is being able to give someone my full attention. Letting them know that what they are about to say to me is important and that I care. It also shows up in my work, giving my full attention to one task results in better quality and higher efficiency.
Examine your relationships, conversations, your work. What attention do they receive? When someone comes to you to have a conversation can they be assured that you will give them your full undivided attention? When you are given a task to complete will you truly give your full attention to that task? Challenge yourself and those around you to focus your attention, put down the phone, turn away from the tv, stop what you are doing. May your actions be that of taking special care of someone or something.