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The agic of Paying Attention


Things change when placed under observation. How? It depends on the observer as well as the observed. This applies to two different objects of observation but at the same time, this holds true for ourselves too.

Not paying attention to our needs and desires of prayer and meditation causes our answers to disappear into a void. We become so entangled in our daily lives, thoughts and emotions that we lose sight of the bigger picture. As a result, our perspective narrows down and we end up doing things which are in the moment, but do not possess value for the longer term. We forget about the person we want to be and end up trying to tackle what we are presented with.

“It's all a matter of paying attention, being awake in the present moment, and not expecting a huge payoff. The magic in this world seems to work in whispers and small kindnesses.” - Charles De Lint

Attention singles out certain things from everything else so that they can be analyzed and interpreted. An important function of attention is discriminating between conflicting pieces of information. Once identified and evaluated, any object of attention may then be further investigated, thought about, judged and responded to.

A simple method to overcome this is to start paying attention on one habit that you want to be changed or created. Paying attention on this one little thing will bring huge benefit and satisfaction to you. When I say, that you start paying attention, you can do so practically by writing down that one habit on a piece of paper or diary. Write down all the knowledge and information you need to develop that thing which you are paying attention to, say, a habit. Then, below it, write down all the obstacles you might face to achieve it. And then, finally, list down all micro activities that you need to do to achieve this habit, arrange them in a sequence and start with the ‘number one’ activity. Give yourself at least 30 days to stick to this plan for a meaningful result. You will be amazed with the result. This whole activity only ensures that you are paying attention to that one thing, you would normally not pay attention to, as you remain involved in daily life. This activity brings that thing to the fore, reminds you everyday to do something about it.

But there are hindrances to paying attention, and a lot these days. Try and address them (and pay attention to remove or suppress them). One of the reasons it’s so difficult to stay focused is that humans are naturally prone to interruption, says Maggie Jackson, author of Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age (Buy). The flurry of incoming unwanted emails, SMS and app notifications are a major source of distraction. Add to it, the overwhelming digital and paper clutter received by you during the day, everyday. My article “10 Personal Success Hacks” describes ways to control and deal with them.

As I have shared in my previous articles and my book ‘The Success Habits’, there are prerequisites to this activity. You need to have a desire to change yourself, determination to evolve and the discipline to keep going for at least 30 days, even when you don’t feel like. This small exercise will remove the obstacle and resistance that you have within you, to better yourself.

There is hardly anything that can’t be achieved in your life. It is only a matter of paying attention to what you need and not what you are presented with. And the ability to control and direct your attention towards things you desire, which will make you happy separate the successful from the rest.

If you need to concentrate, don’t leave it to chance.

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This article was first published here on 4th July 2017.