The Illusion of Attention

Take a moment to do this short exercise before reading further:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJG698U2Mvo?feature=player_embedded]

Be honest – how did you do?

This exercise is about the Illusion of Attention. So often we go through life seeing only what we expect to see. This can happen to you when you are driving. You see what you expect to see, which is generally the road and cars coming towards you. This is how drivers miss seeing motorcycles or bicycles. I was driving home one night after a scrapbooking crop and a mountain lion crossed the road in front of me. A mountain lion! It literally took me a second or two for it to register what I was seeing.

This also happens at work. You may see yourself in a certain role, in a certain position, performing certain tasks. You expect to do those things, and are used to doing them in a certain way. You may think you are paying attention to your job, when in fact you are doing exactly what you expect to do. You may be busy, but you may be busy doing the wrong things. For instance, when I started my current job, one of my jobs was to file the bankruptcy paperwork. One day I noticed that I was filing a lot of notices that assets had been located, but I wasn’t receiving any claims to file from the offices that might have a claim. Instead of simply filing those notices, I began to email departments to notify them that assets had been located and asked them to send me the billing invoices so I could file a claim. It worked. Claims were filed and payments began to roll in. All because I took a moment to examine what I was doing. Take a moment to examine what you are doing and how you are doing it. Once you are aware, you may discover that there is a different way to do things that is more efficient, or perhaps you can create a new work flow that makes your day go smoother. And maybe, just maybe, you will do something that will catch your boss’s attention.

But this illusion is about so much more than seeing a gorilla or a mountain lion, or doing your job better.

The illusion of attention as it relates to your goals and dreams is perhaps the most important illusion to shatter. Pull back, change your perspective, and seriously review what you are doing to reach your goals. A personal example: I have been writing for as long as I can remember. I wrote and rewrote the same story over and over, and never made it past 25,000 words. I thought I was doing everything I could to reach my goal of being a published author. Then I joined National Novel Writing Month and realized that although I was writing, I was not paying attention daily to my need to write. I was not taking it seriously. I finished a first draft and wrote those two magical words “THE END” for the first time. I kept writing, continued to participate in National Novel Writing Month, and joined a critique group. Even though I thought I was paying attention to my dreams, I learned to adjust HOW I paid attention and began studying WHAT I was doing to make my dream become a reality and changed WHO I was listening to with regard to my dreams.

Once you are aware of the Illusion of Attention, you have begun to shatter the illusion.

What are you missing that is right in front of you?