Friday, April 8, 2011

the attention span

Today I'm having a day off. Like you I hit days at times when I think: I need to recharge my batteries and find a quiet place. I have noticed that my attention span, and my energy levels have increasinly become more sensitive and prone to the danger of overloading.

Just before, I decided to have a snooz. By the time I was in bed the siesta desire had passed and instead I found myself immersed in reading "The Thank You Economy" by Gary Vaynerchuk. This guy is so on the ball it's almost painful when you realize so many people are obviously not (no offense). So there's delight they might want to learn how to play too which is a positive outlook.

At times I find myself seeing relations in aspects between many dotted areas. It's when the "aha" kicks in, like having a view of a very large terrain where many activities are going on. What Gary talks about in the TYE and also what I keep finding in my personal and profesional life is that all boils down to Attention. In my case I lost attention for myself this week, I seemed to be predominantly focusing it elsewhere if not ''somewhere". This caused me to lose track on "where I was".

The Attention Span is very much a 'now' thing. Not only does everyone have a far shorter supply then ever before, I notice myself that things are changing at a rapid rate. The way we socialize changes, the way how we do things changes, what we value interestingly changes too (the economy and the earthquakes globally contributing to that); the way we communicate has changed and keeps on changing and generally: how and what we give Attention to changes. A lot.

The crux of the story is that all Attention matters and how we provide it. What I also recognized in Gary's wonderful trainride story is that it matters greatly how we act, how we conduct ourselves. It's very important to be transparant about who we are. Just yesterday an Oodlies interview was published with me discussing vaginas at length. All I can say is: the sometimes open ways how Joi (from Oodlies) and I interact involves this way of communicating, it's part of our lingo. It's what we're like together. We don't lie about who we are. I am various sides of a spectrum. To be anything but one way would be too limiting for me. I really like Gary's viewpoint on being genuine, how could there be a future where we're not?

To me Attention is not just the time we take to focus on anything, be it online or off, and to tell others about it, it's also very much the ethical side of it, the human side of it, the why and how side of it, that others relate to and understand. I think we will find faster and faster that we "get" what other people talk about and what they do. Even before they have finished speaking or ''doing''. We will increasingly find ourselves "smelling the rat" or "feeling the vibe" in ways we could not conceive of ever before. These are magical times.

The trick with Attention is that all Attention is really Love. Keep an open mind about this. Give attention freely and it will flow back to you. Draft all sorts of rules and it will bite you in the ass. (I wonder how Gary would feel about this.)

Above all: I think our Attention deserves more credit. We forget that Attention as it is, is our commodity. It falls and stands with our choices and our expressions. We will be known by others how we give our Attention and most of all: whether we actually care about others, as well as ourselves. It's when we forget, that we falter. I think that if many of us continue to forget that we are all part of a very large hive that we have the danger of losing our Attention for each other.

Luckily, from what I can see, most people are very much focused on the value of having genuine relationships and enjoying the freedom of movement that transparency provides. The way we do ''business'' will therefor change a lot too. I'm sure the last chapter about this has not been written. And I like that.

More about Gary's book and where to order it here

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