We live in an age of “too much”: too much data, too much information, too much stimulation, too much noise. It feels like our attention is under siege: everyone wants a piece of it – and if you’re like me, you give it away way too easily.
That’s why my wish for 2018 is for everyone to be more deliberate with their attention.
Let’s not forget our attention is a sacred gift. It’s scarce and precious. It’s how our choices are crystallized. It’s what makes us interesting and unique.
Our attention is also the skin of our mind, protecting it from mental pollution, from those constant distractions that make us lose our focus.
But, more importantly, our attention is also our vote. Every second we spend on something that is not worth it, we make it look like it’s worth it. So here is the bigger issue: today’s attention shapes tomorrow’s interactions. Or, in other words, every time we click on crap , we incentive more crap to be created and served to us.
There is no feedback loop for our intentions — what we value in our head, what we wish for, where we’d like to see the world going… it’s doesn’t create datas, therefore it does not exist. Engagement being the master metrics of our data-driven world, the way we collectively spend our attention is shaping commerce, communication, technology, entertainment, the political agenda… and, obviously, everything we see on those screens we spend so much time staring at. As Tristan Harris and others have pointed out, our attention is getting stolen. I for sure have let my attention been stolen from me too many times in 2017.
Sensational headlines, guilt-inducing injunctions, mind-hijacking notifications, “three-people-looking-at-the-same-hotel-right-now”… we’re tricked, we’re programmed into clicking on things we didn’t come for, don’t value and, more fundamentally, don’t want more of.
“These are our lives…our precious, finite, mortal lives. If we’re not vigilant, TVs, computers and mobile devices will guide us to spend our time and attention in ways that don’t align with our deepest desires.”
So here is a suggestion for 2018: let’s resist the digital temptations of always one more click, one more scroll, one more minute spent with content that doesn’t enrich us… let’s make a conscious effort to be more deliberate in the way we give our attention away.
Happy New Year, and may our attention follow our intention.