Today I am Thankful For My Attention
“You are your attention.” – Deepak Chopra
I heard Deepak say this on a cassette tape in 1996.
He then said to clarify, “You are what you attend to.”
Sooo…. As we celebrate what we are thankful for TODAY… I’m thankful for this quote, and here’s why.
In that moment, I realized that my experience of life is an inner experience, not an outer one.
There are events, or lack thereof, that occur in the outside world, but whether I turn my attention to them or not massively impacts my experience of life in the moment.
Yes. Ignorance IS bliss.
Why is deliberate ignorance actually self care?
Because there is an overwhelming amount of events and information happening at any given moment in time on this planet… too much for any one person to be able to process.
In the 21st century, we must curate our attention carefully. The good news is that no matter where you are, you can actually do this.
Said another way, your focus determines your experience, and you’re here (alive) for an incredibly short amount of time. So…
What do you WANT to focus on?
Does what you currently focus on give you pleasure? Joy? Peace? Fear? Anger? Anxiety? Righteous indignation? (C’mon, be honest)
How much power or control do you have over what you currently focus on, meaning… are you a player or just a spectator in that area?
After my 5 best friends were murdered in 1995, I could NOT watch the local 6 or 10 o’clock news, because on those shows, “if it bleeds, it leads.” They routinely serve up another person’s trauma to capture and keep your attention. So, I stopped watching. Tim Ferriss calls this “the low information diet.”
Do you know what I missed after literally turning my attention and focus away from the local news for 25 years?
Not a single thing.
Today, my attention diet consists of nature, my family, my neighborhood, pickleball, Arsenal F.C., music, helping others deal with addiction, stress, and grief, continuing to heal, maintain, and improve my mind/body, and gratitude.
It’s not that I’m unaware of the global pandemic or the political and social issues in the U.S. I just don’t need to expose myself to one ounce more than the bare minimum in topics that disempower me.
Notice that in my focus, I CHOOSE to lean in to ending suffering in three specific areas. Working with stress, addiction, and grief are enough for me. I lean in because I feel that I CAN do something about all three areas when I work with someone or a group. I think that the degree to which you can control what you focus on greatly influences your wellbeing. What I mean about that is that if you focus on the death toll of COVID-19, can you control ANYTHING about that? Not beyond washing your hands, wearing a mask, and not travelling. Can you control anything about the various lawsuits surrounding the election? Not unless you are immediately involved with them as a function of your work.
So, as Strategic Coach Founder Dan Sullivan would say, “Think about your thinking.”
What would you like to attend to MORE?
What would you like to attend to LESS?
You curate your attention. Own it, be responsible for it, and notice what happens.
It’s easy to do this today, but it’s DELIGHTFUL to do it daily.