We all know that having a positive attitude can make a difference in winning or losing. More importantly, it helps with trying and not giving up when the going gets tough.
But there is something else, that is equally if not more important than attitude. And, that is Attention!
Being in the moment, being aware of where you are, who you are with and what you are doing, paying attention to every detail in there, living that experience; that is what attention is all about.
We all share the same challenge of fleeting attention, a fickle mind that wants to stay on this for now but move on there before you had a chance to get comfortable with this. Its a constant challenge, giving your attention to one thing and one thing only!
However, its this attention that allows us to have a truly immersive experience, to be aware and carry that awareness with us for a long time even when the current moment is buried in the past. Its that awareness that is responsible for shaping us to prepare for our tomorrow.
Now, all of us have such experiences at times, no matter how short. When you think of your favorite dish, do your other senses fill up such as the waft of smell from when you had it and the saliva secreted in your mouth? When you think of your parents or grandparents, what experiences come and stand before you. These are a result of indelible impressions in your mind of those events, those things. It can happen in case of fear as well. Fear, because you were in the moment, even if involuntarily. Events that are personal and emotionally compelling engage more of the brain, and thus are better remembered, than simply stating a set of facts.
Giving attention to something, being aware of the present, is a learned trait. Even if you do not have it now, you can learn it. And, in order to learn it and make it one with your being where it comes across as a reflex action, you need to constantly remind your self of it and practice it. You see, our mind’s horses run at the speed of wind and want to be everywhere. When you are talking to your partner or child but watching television at the same time while also thinking about something that’s on your mind, you are not in any of these places. You catch only a little of these experiences and never truly understand, nurture or give them a chance to move forward in totality. Your disengagement comes through very easily and shows itself poorly. You may think your mind is busy but it’s not. It’s only disturbed and distributed unequally and as a result, what you gain from these moments is very poor and its time wasted, though it may seem time spent with busy work.
Attention is used as a spotlight. We are only able to shine it on a narrow area for a short while. If that area seems less interesting than some other area, our attention wanders. We can learn to throw the floodlights on and keep them on when we need to.
Too often, people spend time either living in their past or worrying about their future. All this is done in the present and as a result, the present hardly exists in their mind. It’s whiled away. What can change and benefit you is when you live in the present. Whether you are tending to a plant, eating a meal or writing something, give your very best and full attention to the task at hand. Be deliberate in your action. Do this consciously to learn it. There is pleasure immeasurable hidden in living your now and experiencing it, a totally immersive experience where you see it, say it, hear it, feel it and breath it. No matter, how big or small the event may be, live it in order to love it. Give it your full presence and awareness. Soak in the experience to learn from it and further improve your next experience. Attentiveness or Attention can be that missing piece in your life, in charting your path to happiness, to success and fulfillment.
And when you do look back, you will no longer have a collection of memories from several years but a true pathway of experiences that form your life, each and everyone of them and then again, a sum total of them.
Experiences that we pay attention to and give of ourselves can move us to tears, change our attitudes, opinions and behaviors, and even inspire us. When we look for this in every act of ours, they capture and hold our attention, they transport us into our present.
Start with this moment, this task that you are on. Give it your total attention, your complete focus and enjoy the experience. Live it, love it and make it better the next time.
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