New release - PASSION STRUCK

Paying Attention and Its Intriguing Link to Deploying Passion
Why the attention economy is impacting your success

Hiding just beneath the surface of our best intentions lies a hidden enemy – paying attention. This silent assassin lives comfortably in the most sacred of spaces, lurking at the edges of your focus, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. In those moments right before genius strikes and passion ignites, this malicious malcontent comes alive, sinking its addictive hooks into your subconscious and snatching productivity and potential from your grasp.

The enemy of distraction has become a plague that infects every corner of our lives. The worst part? We often welcome this enemy with open arms — inviting it to take up residence in our daily lives in our modern technological world. Like money, we are quickly becoming a society focused on the exchange of attention because, like accumulating wealth, we all crave and need to accumulate attention to a certain degree.

Few parts of our lives are stolen and wasted more than our attention and our time. From the moment we open our eyes in the morning to the final thought that passes our minds at night, our focus and attention are being captured, distilled, and monopolized into a trillion-dollar industry — of which the hardworking labor force receives no compensation. Why? Because we are the product.

Unfortunately, those held captive by the attention economy have little chance of becoming truly passion struck. Always having one’s focus stolen and redirected on fruitless pursuits will leave you with little potential to spend time dreaming, developing, and deploying innovations that genuinely push the limits of your personal and professional potential.

Recent studies have shown that smart devices — which are almost ubiquitous parts of our daily life — have become one of the prime culprits of time-stealing and passion-killing in our pursuits. In an average 9–5 workday, office workers will spend upwards of 56 minutes per day scrolling their feeds or checking websites for news and sports scores. This waste adds up to almost 5 hours of your prime production hours lost to pointless attention-hungry distractions!

Even when devices aren’t present, the average individual readily admits to spending 45 minutes a day — eight hours a week — on non-important tasks that take away from the goals they desire to complete each week. They are paying attention to what appears urgent but not important.

The statistics are staggering. We are a culture that is slowly whittling away our lives to pointless pursuits. Imagine what you could accomplish with that extra 8 hours a week! If you are going to become the leader that your industry needs you to be, you need to break free of the chains of your attention economy overlords and recapture your creative freedom.

Pulling Back The Curtain On The Attention Economy

Whether or not you like to believe it, most corners of your life have been infiltrated by the power of nefarious, attention-seeking media that wants you to pay attention to their ads and messages. The applications and devices that have become an essential part of our everyday life are embedded with intentional, targeted programming and characteristics that draw us back time and again. The ever-present anticipation of updates, notifications, and alerts can cause one to prioritize the urgent over the necessary. Leaders who allow themselves to fall victim to the tyranny of the urgent on their devices will soon discover that they are further away from seeing their passion bring life to their goals.

Our addiction to devices and hits of temporary pleasure has not gone unnoticed by media giants. Tech companies have developed their devices and applications with embedded mental hooks — from targeted digital advertising to dopamine-producing smartphone games that provide an easy escape from the hustle of life.

The reality of the attention economy’s power is clear from the rise of “screen time” tracking applications becoming increasingly popular on many devices. Programs that track and report the amount of time spent on websites, social media platforms, and devices reveal that nearly every ounce of our “free time” is being spent pushing, scrolling, clicking, and buying.

Behind the attention economy’s curtain are the four big tech giants: Facebook, Apple, Twitter, and Google. While many companies create content that vies for our attention, these four have developed the most popular devices and applications that capture our attention and capitalize on our distraction.

Why? For Money of course!!!

By you paying attention, you have become their product and they earn more of it (money) from keeping you captive to their platforms.

How The Attention Economy Steals Your Focus, Passion, and More

What is keeping you from achieving your dreams? While you may be able to create a list of reasons why you have yet to reach your goals, the hold of the attention economy on our lives is one culprit that few of us are indeed willing to admit exists.

Yet, our world is full of these distractions and we pay attention to them every day. On average, we check our smart devices over 80 times a day — 80 individual distractions that steal our focus and prevent us from reaching the mental state needed to truly reach a state of deep work. Statistics show that for each disruption we experience, it takes 20 minutes on average to reclaim our focus on the project we were previously focused on.

Not only is our focus stolen, but our unhealthy relationship with devices and addiction to temporary dopamine hits keeps us from reaching challenging goals. Why invest time and effort into a project that requires deep focus when we can gain a sensation of sedentary pleasure by reading short articles and getting into debates on Twitter?

If you are to become the passion struck leader that can impact your industry, you need to break up with the attention economy — for good.

Reclaiming Your Passion By Paying Attention

If you are going to be a future leader, you need to become passion struck in your personal and professional worlds. Only when you become struck with an unquenchable drive that pushes you to move beyond the status quo of your industry will you discover how to truly stand apart and produce innovative, world-changing ideas.

While you could throw out your smartphone and delete your social media accounts, you can’t impact the modern world unless you operate in today’s standard communication methods. The key is developing rhythms and routines that allow you to engage — and disengage — with the attention economy without giving up your free will and agency.

To help leaders reclaim their passion amid the war on attention, some various tools and tricks can help you develop the skills necessary for focus, deep work, and passionate pursuit.

  • Take advantage of productivity tools such as timers and applications that allow you to block distracting applications, notifications, and messages while you work.
  • Block defined and limited time for checking in on social media, email and responding to messages.
  • Cultivate screen-free time that ensures you have time to think, meditate, and focus on your goals and aspirations — freeing up the brain space necessary for innovation and dreaming.

The greatest gift you can give yourself as a future-leader is freedom from distraction and the ability to defeat the hold of the puppet-masters of the attention economy. However, choosing this lifestyle will not be easy. It will likely require you to account for being your biggest enemy and overcome your own deeply-ingrained addiction to distraction.

The reward for fighting this hard battle and emerging victorious? The potential of discovering the passion that drives individuals to create industry-leading ideas that leave an impact. Isn’t that possibility worth the effort?

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