When you pay attention to something, you’re devoting a portion of your life to it.
None of us has any choice in this regard. Regardless of the ways in which we choose to spend our lives, we must invariably pay attention to certain things and as we’re doing this, we’re spending parts of our lives.
Attention doesn’t always have the same value though.
Here’s an example: If you’re eating for 10 minutes you can either eat with useful attention or you can allow your mind to be in a state of distraction and eat with useless attention.
- You can have 10 minutes of eating where you savour the food in your mouth and ponder the extraordinary amount of human effort that went into getting that meal in front of you.
- You can hold your phone in one hand and play with it while you pop food into your mouth. In those 10 minutes, you gave 70% of your attention to your phone and the balance to your meal. Neither your phone or your meal received useful attention.
Which would you rather have?
It’s worth noting that we only feel fulfilled when we’ve given useful attention to a meaningful avenue. That’s because we are designed to lead lives of meaning. Unfortunately, it is our obsession with the meaningless that is depriving us of lives of meaning.
To increase the meaning in our lives, we must control the quality and direction of our focus.