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What Grabs Your Attention and Why?

April 26, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 136

As each day passes with all its distractions, plans, goals and activities it is often very difficult to only pay attention to those events, words of others and circumstances that strengthen rather than oppose our actions, thoughts, behavior and outcomes.

Most people tend to go through their days and life in auto-pilot only reacting to circumstances rather than taking a conscious pro-active approach to life with all its uncertainty, challenges and opportunities.

What exactly is attention and why is it so important?

Attention - mental focus, serious consideration, or concentration or notice and interest in a topic, situation or event. Close observation to what is happening around you, to you or within you.

There are many aspects of attention and their impact on our thoughts, decisions and mindsets - therefore our behavior. All attention is caused by an external trigger or action by a situation or another person or group that causes an internal response often due to an emotional wound that has been firmly imbedded in our consciousness as a result of previous experience or circumstances or words from others. Think about someone you know who has emotional 'buttons' (you have them too) that when touched causes an often predictable reaction. These reactions could be any emotion including tears, fear, anger, joy or resentment - plus many others.

When a person has emotional wounds that have not healed they will almost always react the same when these wounds - buttons - are pushed in some way. What we do essentially is allow our attention to be hooked as a result of someone's words or action. Our attention then focuses only on this response trying to find ways to either heal the wound or defend our action or words.

Anything within the consciousness of an individual that is 'unfinished or needs healing' for whatever reason is easily hooked.

Think for a moment the last time someone was able to make you angry, defensive, upset or filled with emotional pain or feelings of inadequacy of some kind by their words or actions. What happened? Their remarks or actions could have been completely innocent and were not given with an agenda or intent to cause emotional pain or hurt feelings. If they had said the same thing to another person it's unlikely that these people would have all had exactly the same reaction.

So why did you react the way you did? Why do we all often tend to react too many of these situations the way we do? Is it insecurity? Fear? A need for some type of approval or acceptance? The answers - Yes. Yes. Yes and yes to any other emotional need that you can think of.

Why do someone's critical remarks toward us cause us to go into defense mode? Why do someone's actions cause us to come out fighting?

Ever had someone cut you off on the highway? Ever had a spouse criticize you in front of others? Ever had a boss, tell you - you lacked experience, knowledge or some other attitude necessary for a success?

If you agree internally with any of the statements or actions of others about you or toward you - regardless of the circumstances you will always allow these situations to hook your attention causing you to internally validate them and therefore play the role of the victim.

However, if you're internal assessment of yourself regarding what is said or done by others is not in alignment with what you hear from others, these will not cause you to feel or act in a defensive way.

If you want to know what someone's wounds are just observe how they react to what is said to them and their reaction. For example, if you told me I am uncaring when it comes to others, I have no need to react to your words because that is not how I see myself. I don't need to argue with you or defend my position. And why not? Simple - what you are saying is coming from your perspective or view of truth and not what is. Yes' you have a right to these opinions but I don't have to agree with them and let you hook my attention therefore my behavior.

Why does what you pay attention to matter? For starters it causes you to change the focus of your attention from something that deserved your attention to something that may not.

Let's say you are working on a project and your boss walks into your office and says simply - "We need to talk." If your inner value is coming from a position of insecurity or fear you're internal reaction will be of concern - therefore he or she has hooked your attention taking it away from your project. However, if your internal value is of self-acceptance, high self-esteem or that you are a valuable employee your reaction might be a simple, "Now is not a good time, I'm working on an important project, can we do it later?" They have your attention, you listened to them and responded but they didn't hook your attention causing a variety of internal negative emotional responses.

If you want to be productive, successful or happy it is absolutely necessary that you only let others hook your attention when you have decided that it is in your best interests to do so and you have agreed to allow them to do so, so that you learn to know how to better manage your attention from the inside-out and not the outside-in.

Tim Connor, CSP is an internationally renowned sales, management and leadership speaker, trainer and best selling author. Since 1981 he has given over 4000 presentations in 21 countries on a variety of sales, management, leadership and relationship topics. He is the best selling author of over 70 books including; Soft Sell, That�'s Life, SOLD, 81 Challenges Managers Face and Your First Year In Sales. He can be reached at, 704-895-1230 or visit his websites at

Source: EzineArticles
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