At the risk of sounding mercenary, I’d like to point out that paying attention pays!
In fact, paying attention to the right things can pay very well indeed.
Paying attention to others comes at a cost. Sometimes a significant one.
The prize for attending to the right things is given in many currencies: improved productivity, good health, wealth, great relationships, even peace, to name just a few.
The price for attending to the wrong ones is extracted in the same currencies: wasted time, stress and disease, lost financial opportunities, damaged relationships and conflict. The list could go on.
So what are the things that pay you back for your attention? Where giving attention becomes an investment, not just a cost?
Well, let's start with anyone you employ. Studies show that up to 70% of people are disengaged from their work. This kills productivity and represents a huge financial cost. One of the surest ways to re-engage them is to give them your full attention (and I do mean full).
Try this and observe the results.
What about your closest relationships? Your significant others? Pay attention to them (the right kind, of course) and those relationships will flourish. Withhold your attention when they need you and the relationship suffers.
Ditto your friends, customers, suppliers or service providers.
And what about work itself? Much of our satisfaction, our success, even our wellbeing can be linked to the quality of the work we do. No matter what that work is. So don't approach it half-heartedly or with only partial attention. Take every opportunity to invest in your future results and attend to it - fully.
(You might even find you start enjoying it more)!
But what are the unhelpful things? The ones that steal your attention and leave you in deficit?
These may be thoughts, ideas and feelings over which we have some control. Like criticism, worry, fear, anger and regret.
Or the external distractions we face every day. We may have less control over these, but we still can manage our responses to them.
Start by noticing the things to which you commonly give your attention*. See any patterns? If they don't offer positive dividends or promise growth in one of the currencies mentioned above, then rethink your strategy. Start choosing to invest your precious attention in things that do.
These are some of the most important investment decisions you could ever make.