You have a superpower. You do. Well, we all do. We all have a superpower that is most certainly underutilized in our lives. This superpower is something we can use every day and throughout the day. And whether we use this power or not, it impacts the reality we live in.
The use of our attention is not woo-woo. This is something that has been observed by psychologists, sociologists, behavior economists, philosophers, religious leaders, business moguls, you name it. What is this power? Your attention.
Your attention plays a crucial role in the reality you are shaping. Think of it this way (which was shared by James Pawelski in this video: Imagine you have a flashlight. This flashlight has a single beam of light. You can choose to aim that flashlight anywhere you want in the room you are in. You can choose to aim in the corners to hunt for vermin, looking for what is wrong or scary. You can choose to search for someone to connect with. You can scan the walls for works of art. You can choose where to focus that light much like we can focus our attention in our lives.
We can’t pay attention to everything. Life is a smorgasbord of things to focus on in any given moment. Stop for a moment, wherever you are, and consider what is going on. Can you feel the shoes on your feet? The floor under your feet? What do you hear? Now strain and see if you hear even more in the distance? Maybe an air conditioner, refrigerator, or birds chirping? If you have eater something recently, perhaps you can still taste or smell it. What do you see in your environment? Now take a moment to notice something new. What did you find? Now consider your mental life. What might you focus your mind on internally? Your goals, your loved ones, a complaint, a worry. You can even stop right this minute and think of something you are grateful for. Your choice is going to impact you.
Being able to shift attention is a big part of wellbeing. We can focus on relationships, opportunities, optimistic possibilities, things to be grateful for. We can be mindful of a moment. We can savor goodness, give grace, or be open to another. While bad things will happen, we can choose to honor our negative emotions without letting it become unproductive or take over. As James shared, like a muscle we exercise to build our bodies to be stronger, we can build our attention muscles. We can practice focusing our attention on where we decide. Consider right now: what it is you want to expand in your life. What is the role attention plays?
Want to hear more? Be sure to check out James’ video here.