Paying Attention

Monday, June 19, 2017

Why is paying attention often hard? You have to pay. It costs. Try giving attention instead. 

 

Have you noticed how often we use words and seldom give regard to them?

 

To pay attention is an interesting one. Why? Because it implies a giving up. We have to pay and so there's an inherent cost involved. 

 

I prefer to use the clause: give attention. I think that we should give our attention to things. I'd like to explain why I consider give to be a better verb to use than pay

 

Give implies that I have made a choice to do something and, I would argue, to do it unconditionally. To pay rather implies that if I don't pay something then it can't or must happen. Whereas to give implies that free choice is involved. When we apply this construct to attention, I don't have to pay attention but I choose to give attention. 

 

I'm all for choice. To choose is the ultimate example of freedom that we have but that freedom comes with responsibility for the choice that I make. I am accountable. 

 

I like accountability. So, I give attention, utilising the freedom of choice that I have but fully recognise the accountability that having that freedom brings. 

 

Paying, unlike giving, isn't a choice. I have to otherwise it will, or won't, happen. I don't like have to. Have to robs me of choice. Have to, got to, Must, Can't are examples of  a Common Emotional Brain Error called Generalisations. As I wrote in my book Why Did I Do That?, there's precious little that I have to do. Reflex responses are it. The rest is my choice. Plenty of course is worth my doing. It's just that I don't have to do it; I choose to do it. 

 

Thus, I won't pay attention. I give attention. There is real value in giving so I give attention to those things that are worthy of my attention. 

 

Some might argue that paying and giving is merely semantics. "Tom-ā-toes, tom(are)toes.", as the song goes. But I don't believe it's a case of calling the whole thing off. I believe that there is a distinct difference. Since Attention requires energy expenditure I want to expend energy on tasks that I'm choosing to give attention to and not upon those that I perceive as having been thrust upon me. Since that's the case I want to give attention to things that benefit me. I want to attend to those things that are wholesome, uplifting and benefit others and also myself. It's better, after all, to give. 

 

May I encourage you to try giving attention rather than paying attention? See what happens. It's not a case of semantics; it's a case of choice with responsibility. 

 

Go on! Give it a go. That sounds so much better than Pay it a go, doesn't it?

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