Your Attention Is For Sale

Attracting your attention and then keeping it has become a big business. From entertainment to the media, from Google to Facebook… screens persistently compete for our eyeballs.

But the market for our attention isn’t new, it’s been developing for well over a century. Before clickbait, there were tabloid newspapers laden with lurid headlines and risque images.

This flood of data can be so overwhelming that it can leave us wasting our time on things we don’t even care about.

Our attention is one of our most valuable commodities, because where we direct our focus determines the quality and content of our lives.

“A man is what he does with his attention and mine is not for sale.” -John Ciardi

Decide to take control of your life, by taking control of where you direct your attention.

Make conscious decisions about what you watch and read.

Disconnect from the constant flow of information for a period of time during the day, and learn to filter out that which is not useful to the life you desire.

Don’t sell your attention…decide instead, where you will spend it.

Read more:

  • [Article] https://markmanson.net/attention
  • [Book] The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads by Tim Wu
  • [Book] Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport

In defense of being bored

“It isn’t necessary that you leave home. Sit at your desk and listen. Don’t even listen, just wait. Don’t wait, be still and alone. The whole world will offer itself to you to be unmasked, it can do no other, it will writhe before you in ecstasy.” – Franz Kafka

Most of us think of being bored at work as a negative experience, but there’s some fascinating research on the role of boredom in promoting creative thinking.

In the first study, conducted by Sandi Mann and Rebekah Cadman, participants had to copy names from a phone book. It wasn’t even a cool phone book with fantasy names like Dumbledore or Flitwick. It was a standard phone book that pretty much nobody uses anymore.

After participants copied the names from the phone book, they engaged in divergent thinking exercises where they had to come up with multiple uses for an object. This bored group scored higher in divergent thinking than the control group.

They later modified this study by having participants read the phone book instead of writing out the names. This group reported higher levels of boredom and proved more successful in the divergent thinking exercise of naming multiple uses for an object.

The second study (by Karen Gasper and Brianna Middlewood) required people to watch videos that would elicit specific emotions. The group that watched only boring videos had to then look at three objects that were seemingly unrelated and determine how they were related. Unlike the first study, this group’s activity was focused more on convergent thinking.

Note the differences in both studies. The first experiment required participants to engage in a tedious, repetitive task. However, they were actively engaged in it. The second study required participants to sit passively through boring content. The first focused in divergent thinking and the second focused on convergent thinking.

However, both studies demonstrated that a period of boredom actually increased the level of creative thinking afterward.

Boredom Is The Start Of Creativity

It sounds counter-intuitive, but several recent studies show that boredom can actually fuel the creative process. Read more…..