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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The remixing approach: how one idea leads to another

One of the songs I’ve been listening non-stop is The Boy from Ipanema, interpreted by Diana Krall. Her performance is absolutely outstanding.

The first time I discovered this song, I thought it was a spoof. The original song is called Garota de Ipanema (“The Girl from Ipanema“), which was written in Portuguese in 1962 by Vinícius de Moraes and composed by Antonio Carlos Jobim. And, as pointed in the title, it talks about a girl that swings so cool and sways so gentle.

I found funny that someone would replace the word “girl” with “boy” and change a few more words here and there to match the “boy” theme. Now that I think about it, this is actually an interesting approach for a cover song. There has been 100 versions of it, and each is so unique in its own way; however, rewording it and turning into a different version refreshes the cover.

This is a great example that shows that, in the creative process, everything is a remix.

Everything we create is copied, transformed, and combined from our culture.

Kirby ferguson

Or from Ben Murray’s perspective, as written in Remixing Culture and Why the Art of the Mash-Up Matters, “all cultural artifacts are open to re-appropriation.” The results can be truly fruitful. As I did a bit more research on this song, I found that Diana Krall isn’t the only singer that has interpreted The Boy from Ipanema. Shirley Bassey, Petula Clark, Rosemary Clooney, Ella Fitzgerald, Eartha Kitt, Peggy Lee, The Supremes, Crystal Waters, and Sarah Vaughan also did it. Even if it’s the same song, each performance provides a different vibe to it.

How about Nancy Wilson’s version? It’s completely different than Diana’s.

How are you remixing things around you?