Paying attention: where your focus really is

Paying attention is a crucial component to our lives. It’s the most basic form of love.

Nothing in your education has taught you that what you notice is important.

verlyn klinkenborg

It’s a fun exercise to ask ourselves why we like the things that we like. We all have favourite songs, favourite foods, favourite brands and so on, but we seldom think about the story behind each preference.

When we take the time to understand ourselves better, we gain a new level of awareness. We’ll find clearer ways to focus on the activities or life projects that we truly care about.

At the same time, awareness goes beyond observing what we like. It’s also about paying attention to what we pay attention to. We are exposed to so much information from different platforms that it’s difficult to distinguish between the content that makes us escape to a comfortable reality and the content that nurtures our minds.

So the question is, where is our attention?

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Slow down to keep moving forward

The other day, this random thought crossed my mind: slow down to keep moving forward.

I’ve been hearing for years about the importance of slowing down. I can see that this hard to achieve. Why would I slow down when there’s so many things to do on the day? Is that feasible in a world that demands my attention and energy every minute? It almost feels like it’s not productive to slow down.

While it’s difficult to get rid of those thoughts, I find that it makes sense to go slower in order to open the door to new ideas and mindsets. If I’m in a rush all the time, how would I be able to notice all the little things that make my life great? Wouldn’t it be better to appreciate them in slow motion?

So yes, slowing down to keep moving forward is a good idea.

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Notice the world around you and fortify your creativity

Have you ever asked yourself why you like the things you like? When your favourite song randomly plays on whatever app you use for music, you just know that it makes you feel good. However, could you describe what makes it so wonderful?

In 2020, the 99u conference presented a series of keynotes, master classes, and workshops around the theme “The Creative Self.” One of the talks that stood out for me was Look Around You by Nishat Akhtar. She proposes to remember that it is our responsibility to continue to reshape those things that shape us to maintain creative autonomy. This is possible through the power of noticing.

Her ideas are deeply relevant in a time where we all are trying to figure out life.

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