Today let’s explore what we focus on, who we focus on, and how our focus determines our degree of happiness and resilience.
We live in a world that thrives, or more accurately subsists, on comparison, competition, and seeking attention. It’s rampant on social media, in the workplace, and even in the White House.
The whole world seems obsessed with seeking and gaining attention from anyone and everyone.
It’s really quite tragic. And I say that because as people continue to compare themselves to others and try desperately to be like them, or at least have as many “likes” or “hearts” or “fans” as the others, they lose focus on what really matters…themselves and the people around them.
So many young people, and quite a few adults, find themselves in a “compare and despair” cycle. Every time they post on social, they can’t wait to see if someone liked their post, and when they don’t stack up to a certain celebrity or influencer or one of their classmates or friends, they sink into a feeling of despair, depression, and sometimes even destruction.
All of this craving and chasing attention is fleeting.
“If only I had 1,000 followers, then I would be happy. Well, once I have 10,000 followers then I’ll be happy. And then, once I have 100,000 then I can be satisfied that I have made it and truly be happy.”
It never ends. Happiness eludes each step of the way toward seeking attention.
So how do we retrain our focus? How do we get off the hamster wheel of always seeking attention?
We need to start paying attention. Paying attention to the things that we can control. Paying attention to the people in our lives. Paying attention to how we present ourselves to others. And paying attention to how we treat ourselves.
When we pay attention and really focus on something or someone, we learn about them, we notice details that may have escaped us before, we develop a curiosity for how something works or why someone behaves the way they do.
When we pay attention, we become aligned with another perspective, we become attuned to another position, we become accustomed to a new way of thinking.
When we pay attention, we build resilience by focusing on what works, what doesn’t, and what could be. We learn from our mistakes, we develop new skills, we search for the inner drive to keep going.
There are stark differences between seeking attention and paying attention. And those differences can cost us our happiness, our relationships, our career success, even our emotional and mental health.
- When we seek attention, we find obstacles.
- When we pay attention, we discover opportunities.
- When we seek attention, we encounter competition.
- When we pay attention, we experience collaboration.
- When we seek attention, we deal with despair.
- When we pay attention, we jump with joy.
- When we seek attention, we are seen as a show-off.
- When we pay attention, we are considered a good friend.
- When we seek attention, we get knocked down.
- When we pay attention, we come back better than before.
- When we seek attention, there is never enough.
- When we pay attention, there is always more to come.
So how do you live your life? Are you a competitor or a collaborator? Are you a show-off or a good friend?
And what do you really want in life? Do you want to compare and despair, or would you rather jump with joy? Do you want to see life as a series of challenges and obstacles, or would you rather embrace opportunities at every turn?
Your Mindful Moment:
It’s your life, it’s your choice. You just have to decide how you want to focus your attention.Tweet