Attention = Power
I was listening to a Dan Sullivan recording about the power of ATTENTION. (Dan is one of my primary gurus for anything creative or entrepreneurial.) Dan was making the point that
Where we put our attention defines who we are and shapes what we will become.
This got me thinking. I asked myself, “Where do I put MY attention?”
Most people, Dan said, put theirs on family, career, community and politics, health, finances, etc.
Not me. Thinking about it, I realized that I put my attention on the unknown or as-yet-unrevealed content of whatever book or story I’m working on.
If you’re an artist, a mathematician, a composer, a theoretical physicist, an entrepreneur or anybody in that general universe, what you’re interested in is something that doesn’t exist yet.
Or, perhaps more accurately, something that does exist but whose contours have not yet revealed themselves.
This is the creative life.
This is the artistic calling.
It’s our vocation, yours and mine, not so much to deal with What Is, i.e. the material world and immediate matters of mortal flesh. Our calling is to bring forth What Will Be.
Are we weird? Are we crazy? Susan Cain, in her very thought-provoking book, Quiet, makes the case for introverts—not as geeks and outsiders but as the indispensable creators of society’s future.
In my writing work, I feel sometimes like a spelunker entering a dark cave. I’m exploring an inner world, a world that exists only in imagination. My only source of illumination is the light on the peak of my miner’s helmet. My attention is on the dark. I shine my light and try to see what’s there.
If that makes me a weird or crazy introvert, so be it. That’s where my attention is, and that’s where I’m gonna keep it.