Your Attention, Please

Your attention is your most precious possession. Where you choose to spend it, and on what, will have a huge impact in the quality and content of your life.

I said “spend” above, but you do no such thing: Attention is not a currency you can borrow or take a loan on. You choose to focus your attention on something or other. It’s like a lens darting around a complex landscape, moving to this detail now, and this other detail next, allowing you to form a partial — but useful — mental model of the environment.

For our remote ancestors hunting in the savanna, focusing on the wrong thing at the wrong time could lead them to being on the wrong end of the fork. We live in very different environments now, and have developed sophisticated techniques to manipulate each others’ attention for our own goals.

We interrupt this program to bring you this message from our sponsors.

Who controls what you focus your attention on? Is it you? Or is your attention being manipulated by others for their own goals? Are you consciously spending your time and attention on worthwhile things? The few minutes you spent reading this post are never coming back to you. One day you will not have any more attention to give. Will you regret having spent it to read this?