Yes, you probably heard that once or twice at school, not necessarily directed at you though . . . or was it?
‘Attention’, in the sense I’m using it now, is defined as ‘steady application of the mind’.
Perhaps like ‘focus’ or ‘concentration but maybe not as intense.
Paying attention to something means applying your mind to it in a steady, ordered, way.
Not letting it become an obsession or a distraction from everything else your mind needs to do, but at the same time letting this ‘something’ always be ‘present’ in your consciousness.
So what is this ‘something’?
You’ve set yourself some goals and targets and selected the rewards you’ll get, or give yourself, when you achieve them.
Hopefully you also have a set of plans each consisting of a set of actions that you need to carry out in order to achieve your goals.
Put all these things together – goals, targets, plans and actions – and you have a set of ‘intentions’.
You do intend to achieve your goals don’t you?
You have an intention to achieve each goal.
You may be working on your goas one at a time, in sequence, or you may be working on some of them at the same time, in parallel.
It doesn’t matter.
Just as long as you can pay attention in equal measure to those intentions you have at the moment.
The ‘something’ you need to pay attention to is your current intention.
But, there’s a catch.
(Isn’t there always!)
When you set your goals you’ll will have come up with some expectations as to when and how they might be achieved and you’ll have thought about the reward you’re expecting when you do achieve them.
This aggregation of ‘how’ and ‘when’ and ‘what’s in it for me’ is your expected ‘outcome’ – and this is what gets in the way of achieving your goal.
You have expectations of the outcome and this distracts your attention from doing the things that need to be done to achieve your intention.
As you progress, even in small steps, some of your expectations (outcomes) might not be met – things might not go as quickly as expected, things may happen in an unexpected way, and so on.
If you let the expectation of a particular outcome distract your attention from your intention then, believe me, something will ‘go wrong’ and you won’t get the outcome you really wanted.
But here’s the secret.
(There’s always one of those as well – to go with the ‘catch’)
First – when you set your intention – you must be really, really crystal clear on what it is – in detail. If it’s at all vague then what you do may still bring about what your subconscious thinks is your intention – but with a different outcome to that which you expected.
Which could be disappointing.
Second – and this is the ‘hard’ bit – you have to forget your expected outcome and pay full attention to your intention.
Do that (with a clear intention) and your expected outcome is more likely to come about.
To paraphrase Chris and Janet Attwood in their book ‘The Passion Test’ –
Intention + Attention = No tension
I’m off to to clarify my intentions.
How about you?