Compared to the world we lived in 10 years ago, sources of distraction are playing a much bigger role in our personal and professional lives. Walk into any public place from a grocery store to an airport, and you’ll see people with their heads buried in screens. And the modern workplace has become an interruption factory. As this continues, attention management will be essential to success and survival.
I’ve struggled with attention management for my entire life. And the consequences were detrimental to my life and career. It led to:
- Terrible grades in college
- Getting fired from multiple jobs
- Difficulty in romantic relationships
It was a problem I had to solve to turn my life around. Those who develop this ability will have a significant advantage over those who don’t.
Attention Management: The Currency of Everything that Matters
1. The Currency of Love
When you’re a professional speaker, your family members expect you to write their speeches. For her wedding, my sister gave me the task of ensuring people gave good speeches.
I wanted the speeches to be sincere and genuine. So, I told my dad I wouldn’t write the speech, but I’d give him a framework. I’d ask him questions that would reveal what he needed to say:
- What’s something funny about my sister?
- Why do you think this guy is perfect for her?
- Why do you think they’re perfect for each other?
On their first date, my sister casually mentioned that she played the cello. For their fifth date, my brother-in-law asked her if she wanted to see Yo-Yo Ma at the Hollywood Bowl. My dad said, “He’s perfect for her because he pays attention.”
When we pay attention to another person in this way, it’s the clearest indication of how much we value and care about them. This isn’t just relevant to romantic love.