Attention . . .

There is a new language of sayings slowly creeping in to replace the language of the last generation.  This differentiates the old language and gives it a modern fashion look. I guess the question which needs to be asked is the relevance of the replacing words of this new language. What do they really mean and are these new words appropriate in their settings? For example, being present in a conversation are the new words for paying attention, which is the old way our mother taught us.

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Knowing we can be present in the body doesn’t mean we are present in our mind and concentrating on the discussion. Being old school, I prefer the one my mother taught me not because I am old school. I believe paying attention prompts us to listen and focus on the conversation rather than just being there in bodily form and appearing to be present. I am always frustrated when talking to someone who is preoccupied with their thoughts and just not there! One can be present, but are they listening?

That’s the keyword, listening. Communication takes place on multiple levels. The true test of our ability to pay attention is surely measured by our listening skills. I definitely prefer ‘paying attention’ to ‘being present’ because it really describes the actions of our listening skills. Then the new questions are, what did you hear and how did you hear it?

Are you Listening and are you Hearing me

If we take this another step and use the term metaphorically then paying attention comes with a price tag. If you are paying attention hopefully you won’t have to pay the price of not paying attention! Our English language is so beautiful to play with.

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The play on words I have used here is more than just that. The truth is that Paying Attention is critical and hindsight teaches this regularly. I would be dishonest with you if I didn’t confess the many times it has happened to me. Have you ever thought about the value of its currency? This is the real cost of NOT PAYING ATTENTION. For example, lost opportunities feature very highly on this currency list. 

One problem hindsight has is we don’t learn from it, we think we do and that’s what snares us. Often those little prompts or nudges we get when we are minding our own business, are what we miss. Paying attention is listening to those nudges and following or investigating them. Ask yourself the question – How many times have you heard the nudge or prompt and thought about it? Only to dismiss it as being too hard or not for you at this time, then discover down the road you missed an opportunity! You, then kick yourself for not taking action with it when it was for you? 

You are not alone, so don’t beat yourself up about it as only honest people will confess to doing the same. With the wisdom of hindsight, the real challenge is to follow up on the hunch, nudge or prompt, even if it leads you to a dead end.

By taking this action you eliminate not acting on the prompt, but as you take these small steps to obey the prompts you start a new habit. This will deal with hindsight because even if the thought comes to a dead end, it can’t accuse you of not taking action. 

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