Buy Back Attention

I was planning on writing this post 3 days ago but I kept getting distracted. When facing a blank page, you soon realise just how much work you need to do before thoughts can be put into words.

Sure, it’s much easier to browse through some social media feeds, reading other people’s posts or watching their YouTube videos, than spending time to create your own work. Honestly, if I don’t produce another post, the world will still go around, no one would care.

But I do care, I simply can’t quieten that voice on the back of my mind.

Why attention? The other day I was driving my brother and my parents to a beach, I noticed my brother kept commenting on the scenes outside while we were talking about something else. Not that he meant to interrupt our conversation or wanted to change the subject but he simply got distracted by each passing traffic. And? My way to stopping him from being distracted was to continue talking about the topics we were on before.

A typical type of so-in-your-face distraction is ads. Look around, they are just about everywhere. Of course, they exist for a reason, love it or hate it, the bottom line is they want to find ways to getting into your head, so you don’t forget.

Let’s say you are watching one of your favourite YouTube clips, then out of blue, a couple of ads pop up one after another, you feel annoyed so decide to click a skip ad button. But if the same ads repeat often enough, they will be stuck in your head in no time. Any tricks? Lately, I’ve started to let those ads run freely but while pressing the mute on the speakers.

Remember the phrase “selective hearing”? I admire those people who have such an ability. They can focus on only what they want to hear and block out all other noises. Whether it’s your thing or not, in this day and age, we can’t literally take all in, being selective is really the way to go. How we treat our attention should be in the same way we treat our most valuable commodity – time.

They say it’s all in your head. I agree. But more precisely, I think it’s all in your attention. What we pay attention to has consequences. It will pretty much set the course of your day. In my case, I ended up procrastinating and postponing this post for 3 days.

It may sound ironic but perhaps distraction is a homework I had to do, a warm-up session I had to take part in before qualifying myself to write about attention. In the process, I’ve learned that attention is really a choice, a decision. It’s a split second thing you do, but the outcome can make a world of difference. How I bought my attention back, is by obeying and bowing to that nagging voice in my head – paying attention to writing.

Now this post is done, it’s time to cut myself some slack…

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