Are You the Victim of Misdirection?
Time is one of our most vital resources, and it is completely non-renewable. The finite nature of time gets a lot of press, but I think attention is even more important.
If time is like a river, then attention is the bucket that lets us draw from it.
Time is easily frittered away. It passes faster than we can philosophize over it. Time cannot be controlled. Attention can.
The way we choose to direct our attention dictates how much time we get to access. If we are lazy with our bucket, the river of time passes us by. If we allow other people to borrow our bucket, they get to draw the water.
Society clamors for your attention, because in some ultimate sense they want a piece of your time. They want your thoughts and energy directed at a problem of their choosing. That isn’t always a bad thing.
My “problem” is that I want to write and publish articles that get views. My proposed solution is to write articles that are valuable and thought-provoking enough that you directly benefit from solving my problem.
This is how capitalism has raised the standard of living to breathtaking levels in the past century. When people receive distributed rewards for offering their attention and effort, we can solve problems much larger than ourselves.
Think of hospitals, schools, power plants, etc… Pooling the attention of thousands of people solves really big problems.
On the other hand…
Your attention is easily robbed.
News media, advertisements and politicians constantly compete for your attention. I call them the “Political-Industrial-Complex.” Because we offer them our attention free of charge, they have a huge incentive to bite off a piece of your time.
The rarely communicate anything of value. Most of the time, you are being attacked with misdirection. These people thrive by reframing the world into problems that they should solve. Not you. You need to offer them your support. Your money. Your eyeballs.
Almost all of it is misdirection. When your time is spent fueling the political-industrial-complex, you are putting your faith in people and institutions that you have virtually zero influence over. When you are a part of a crowd crying out for change, the impact of your actions is diluted to be almost nothing.
When you are part of a crowd, change is a gift you ask for someone else to give you.
When you focus within your circle of influence, change is real and immediate. It may be small or incremental. You may not be saving the world. But you can accomplish far more as an individual with goals than as a supporter with hope.
I can’t tell you which problems truly deserve your attention. I can tell you beyond any shadow of a doubt that you are the most qualified person to make that call. Most of your problems are not bigger than you. You don’t need distant pundits, media personalities and politicians to tell you how to solve them.
All you need is your time and attention.
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