Are you aware of what is happening in your life or do you go through each day in a daze? Not paying attention is a great source of frustration. If you are unaware of what is happening to you and why, you feel like a victim with no control over your destiny.
What happens when a student doesn't pay attention in class? They miss important material covered by the teacher. It's then more difficult for them to get the most from the class, if they even pass at all.
Safely operating a car requires the driver to pay attention. The driver has to be aware of where they are, their desired destination, the route they have to follow, other traffic, road hazards, and the weather. Drivers who don't pay adequate attention to all of these factors are much more likely to run off the road.
Paying attention is being conscious of what is happening around you. Know where you are headed, how much progress you have made, what obstacles you are facing, and identify the goals you would like to achieve.
You also need to pay attention to yourself. How do you feel? What are your emotional needs? How do you react to various situations? What are your sensitivities? What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses?
One of the biggest benefits of paying attention is the ability to recognize cause and effect relationships. Every action you take impacts you in some manner. If you are not achieving your desired results, what changes do you have to make?
In a situation where you experience recurring problems, you need to identify the cause before you can make meaningful changes. Otherwise your chances of solving the problems are close to zero.
Here are some effective steps for solving problems. First notice what is happening by paying attention. Next, pay attention to why things are happening the way they are. Now you are in a position to take effective action. As you make changes, pay attention to their effect by continuing to pay attention to what is happening.
Pay attention to your past experiences. Pay attention to what you did that worked and what didn't. You want to repeat successful behavior while avoiding actions which did not produce the desired effects.
Pay attention to what you say when you talk to yourself. Is your internal dialog motivational or do you put yourself down with negative statements? Your self-talk has a powerful influence on your accomplishments. If you tell yourself you can do something you are right. Conversely, if you don't believe something is possible, you will never accomplish it. The way you speak to yourself programs your mind to accomplish the instructions you provide. You mind doesn't discriminate. It works just as diligently on negative input as positive.
Pay attention to any destructive behavior that is sabotaging your success. For example, procrastination prevents you from getting started on tasks necessary to move toward your goals. Any substance abuse that causes your life to unravel needs to be dealt with and corrected immediately.
Mismanaging money impedes your success. Spending more than you can afford, being late paying your bills, not paying them at all, or running up overwhelming debt, are all self-destructive behaviors that lead to constant misery and stress.
When you are not paying attention, you give up control of your life. You become a passenger instead of the driver. It's a frustrating syndrome that continues until you decide to take charge by paying attention.
Keep your eyes open. Remain aware of what is happening. Pay attention to your life every day. Monitor what is working and what is not. Repeat successful behavior while eliminating any activities causing negative results.
NOW AVAILABLE: "Dare to Live Without Limits," the book. Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at firstname.lastname@example.org or write him c/o this paper. 2014 Bryan Golden