Pay attention

David Meyer, a cognitive scientist at the University of Michigan said: “Einstein didn’t invent the theory of relativity while he was multi tasking at the Swiss patent office.” It came after, when he really had time to focus and study.

Goldfish Has a Better Attention Span Than You Do

A typical goldfish has an attention span of about 9 seconds and the average person used to be at 12 seconds. According to a study by Microsoft the average person has an attention span of 8 seconds which is less than a goldfish.

Attention is a habit and letting your attention slip and wander builds bad habits and enables mistakes.

You will never complete all your tasks if you allow yourself to be distracted with every tiny interruptions.

Your attention is one of the most valuable resources, don’t let it slide.


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]
  • [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

Attitude can turn problems into blessings


There is very little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big positive difference is weather it is positive or negative.

Long time ago I read the story of two shoe salesman, who were send to an island to sell shoes. The first sales man was shocked to realize that no one wore shoes. Immediately he sent a telegraph to his home office saying, “will return home tomorrow, no one wears shoes.”

The second sales man was thrilled by the same realization. Immediately we wired his home office saying, “please send me 10,000 pairs, everyone here needs them.”

In Awake, My Heart, J Sidlow Baxter wrote, “What is the difference between an obstacle and an opportunity? Our attitude toward it. Every opportunity has a difficulty and every difficulty has an opportunity.” [Source]

Similarly in the story of David and Goliath, when Goliath came to fight all of the soldiers thought, “He is so big, we can never kill him.” But when David looked at the same giant he said, “”He is so big, I can not miss him.”

Many times we see the challenges as the sunset of life rather than the sunrise of bright new opportunity.

Stillness: Art of doing nothing

A hotel in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

In my last post I collected three comics on Calvin and Hobbes on their adventure of doing nothing.

What does it mean to do nothing? I know what it means literally, but what would be Calvin’s take on this subject, I wonder

Does it really mean hanging on a tree trunk and settling for a snooze fully knowing that mum and dad are in charge, life is wonderful and there is not a thing to worry about? Perhaps that would make sense to a 5 year old, but me?

Or does it just mean what it does, namely not having anything specific to do marked on my calendar? What do you have to say Calvin? No meetings, no shopping, no work, no cooking & cleaning up?

What really is a “doing nothing” moments?

We live in a madly accelerating world, where new technologies — for all their benefits — are making our lives more crowded, chaotic and noisier than ever. There’s never been a greater need to slow down, tune out and give ourselves permission to be still.

A prolific journalist for Time magazine and a travel writer Pico Iyer, in his book The Art of Stillness, suggests that the greatest adventure may be found in going nowhere.

This book offers practical wisdom on reducing stress through stillness. In an age of speed, I began to think, nothing could be more invigorating than going slow. In an age of distraction, nothing can feel more luxurious than paying attention. And in an age of constant movement, nothing is more urgent than sitting still.

In our chaotic time, the greatest luxury is actually the ability to go nowhere and do nothing. To Iyer, it’s this time for quiet, inward, still reflection that snaps all of our experiences into focus.

Doing nothing…isn’t about turning your back on the world; it’s about stepping away now and then so that you can see the world more clearly and love it more deeply.

The Black Dot

One day a professor entered the classroom and asked his students to  prepare for a surprise test. They waited anxiously at their desks for  the test to begin. The professor handed out the question paper, with the  text facing down as usual. Once he handed them all out, he asked his  students to turn the page and begin. To everyone’s surprise, there were  no questions…just a black dot in the center of the page. The professor  seeing the expression on everyone’s face, told them the following:

“I want you to write what you see there.”


The students confused, got started on the inexplicable task.

At the end of the class, the professor took all the answer papers and  started reading each one of them aloud in front of all the students.  All of them with no exceptions, described the black dot, trying to  explain its position in the middle of the sheet, etc. etc. etc. After  all had been read, the classroom silent, the professor began to explain:

“I am not going to grade on you this, I just wanted to give you  something to think about. No one wrote about the white part of the  paper. Everyone focused on the black dot – and the same happens in our  lives. We have a white paper to observe and enjoy, but we always focus  on the dark spots. Our life is a gift given to us by God, with love and  care, and we always have reasons to celebrate – nature renewing itself  everyday, our friends around us, the job that provides our livelihood,  the miracles we see everyday…….

However we insist on focusing only on the dark spots – the health  issues that bother us, the lack of money, the complicated relationship  with a family member, the disappointment with a friend etc

The dark spots are very small compared to everything we have in our lives, but they are the ones that pollute our minds.

Take your eyes away from the black spots in your life. Enjoy each one of your blessings, each moment that life gives you.

Students of MBBS

1st year students of MBBS were attending their 1st anatomy class. They all gathered around the surgery table with a real dead frog. The Professor started class by telling two important qualities as a Doctor. The 1st is that NEVER BE DISGUSTED FOR ANYTHING ABOUT BODY, e.g. He inserted his finger in frog’s mouth  tasted it in his own mouth. Then he said them to do the same.
The students hesitated for several minutes. But eventually everyone inserted their fingers in frog’s mouth & then tasted it.

When everyone finished, the Professor looked at them and said: The most important 2nd quality is OBSERVATION, I inserted my Middle finger but tasted the Index finger. Now learn to pay attention.

Moral: Life is tough but it’s a lot tougher when you are not paying attention.