“Where you put your attention is where you get your results.” – Dr. Joseph Riggio
So the question is… where is your attention?
If you want to be in Flow… if you want to be “in the zone” or “at your best” most of the time, then the direction of your attention is of critical importance.
Two Aspects of Attention
The first aspect of your attention is simply, can you pay attention? If so, for how long?
Healthy development in utero and during the first few years of life generally leads to the ability to put your attention anywhere that it is drawn through curiosity alone. Nourished and nurtured, this mixture of curiosity and attention will enable you to not only pay attention to things, but as orientation comes online (the ability to change the direction of your attention) you will be able to concentrate for long periods of time.
As a toddler concentration means sticking with whatever it is you’re interested in long enough to satisfy your curiosity (or accidentally destroy whatever it is you’re curious about).
As you grow older it means the ability to attend to a problem long enough to solve it. Or to imagine something and stick with it long enough to bring your dream to life.
This leads us to the second aspect of attention:
What are you most fascinated by?
So many people, when I ask them what they want, tell me that they don’t know.
If you don’t know what you want, then it’s time to get familiar with that again.
As a toddler things fascinated you! Maybe not everything, but some things did for sure. And when they did you followed them with that same playful curiosity we discussed above.
As you grew, what fascinated you changed. You put away bright colored blocks, you became interested in people, or ideas, or emotions. Surfing, or computers, or falling in love…
What’s most important now is to pay attention to what is most intriguing to you and to slowly but surely become deeply familiar with the feeling that drives that fascination. Let the deep embodied experience of it become something that you know intimately… and then something that defines you.
Keep your attention here. Allow it to guide your decisions. As Rumi says:
“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.”