The Costs And Rewards Of Paying Attention
“When you pay attention to boredom it gets unbelievably interesting.”
– Jon Kabat Zinn
What are the things that drive you? I mean, the things that really stir up your emotions. Things that you could go on a 2 hour rant about, not even noticing time pass until you stop and think about it.
I recently sat down and had a chat about it with an artist.
He explained three major points that drove him.
While I sat and listened to him listing all the reasons, I realized that it didn’t really hit me on an emotional level.
I understood all the words coming out of his mouth, all the reasoned arguments for his decisions. But something was missing.
Figuring this to be his main issue at the moment I asked him: “OK, I get it. But why are those things important? And I’m not talking about the logic of it. I mean why is it so important to you on an emotional level?”
At first he defended his position: “What? I like that there’s logic behind it.”
I did to, but it wouldn’t have any impact on me or most people unless he got to the root and really connected with people on an emotional level.
So I continued to push him, asking him to do it badly until we started getting at something closer to the truth. He pushed back and said: “You’re sitting on something aren’t you? You know the right answer?”
I both did and didn’t. I ‘d know it the minute I felt him being true and really connecting with me, but I didn’t know the exact emotions or words that would communicate that.
After a little more prodding I said: “Alright, I won’t force you to do anything you don’t want to. Also, I won’t ask you to do anything I’m not willing to do myself.”
So I grabbed a piece of paper and started writing down what drives me. I didn’t get more than a few rows into it until he started talking about his beliefs and emotions.
He spoke with conviction. His posture and expressions were different. It was weird to see him change like that.
When he noticed that I was starting to respond he started going back towards the same things he’d said before and I told him so. He quickly adjusted himself. It was almost like he was clarifying his beliefs to himself.
Once we were done he told me that he was thoroughly pooped. It’d been a long time since he’d expended that much energy, but that in the end it was well worth it. He’d understood many things about himself that he hadn’t seen so clearly before.
And that was a beautiful thing to see.
As this shows, examining yourself and your motivations isn’t always the easiest or most pleasant thing to go through.
We really need to pay attention. Emphasis being on the word “pay”. It doesn’t come for free.
We pay for that knowledge it with our time and energy.
I want you to look around you right now for 15 seconds. Take in as much as you can. Once done, read on.
Ok, now I want you to write down everything you can remember seeing that was blue.
Done? Alright, look around for 15 seconds again. Really focus this time.
I bet you saw a lot more blue this time, right? Write down everything that was green. Not as easy, huh?
People, no matter how well willing or smart, don’t always have the right answer for you. It’s better to go through the process yourself and see what kind of answers you can come up with.
Even when we know what we’re after, we don’t always have the perspicacity we wish we had. That doesn’t mean we’ll never have it. Just that we need to give it some time.
You just need to keep your eyes peeled for your Waldo.
During the session we discussed many things but there was one idea that the artist felt more passionately about than the others. Unfortunately he felt he needed some help setting things up.
I told him that he should keep it front and center in his mind, letting it slip into conversations whenever he could. You never know when the right person comes along with just the skills you need.
While it sounded like something out of “The Secret”, he started applying it.
Some time later I got a massage saying that he was just casually talking with a friend about the idea. His friend’s jaw dropped and he said: “Hey, that’s MY idea!”
Despite them knowing each other for years they’d never shared their ideas.
Now, time will tell if it gets off the ground but at the very least both of them have now found an ally.
Have a kick-ass ₢eative day!