We all know that attention is a useful skill, but how many people you know possess this skill?
I don’t need to tell you why it is an important skill and what are its uses and benefits. This is quite obvious.
This skill is a must for every person, in all areas of life.
Being attentive makes you better at everything, as a student, worker, writer, actor, driver, leader and in any other position or profession.
To gain this skill, you need to control the tendency of the mind to shift from one thought to another. In other words, you need to teach your mind to concentrate.
What is attention and how can we define attention?
How to define attentiveness?
- Attention means the ability to focus the mind on one topic or action.
- It means centering your awareness on one thing and preventing other thoughts or matters to distract you.
Merriam Webster dictionary defines attention as – “The act or state of applying the mind to something.”
Britannica says about attention meaning – “the concentration of awareness on some phenomenon to the exclusion of other stimuli.”
Collins dictionary describes as follows: “If you give someone or something your attention, you look at it, listen to it, or think about it carefully.”
Macmillan dictionary definition – “The interest or thought that you give to something you are listening to or watching.”
Cambridge dictionary says on “Pay Attention” – “to watch, listen to, or think about something or someone carefully or with interest.”
Synonyms of the word Attention: awareness, observation, heed, attentiveness.
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Why the Power of Attention Is Important?
- Every action needs attention for its successful performance.
- Working, talking, studying and playing require attention.
- Even washing, cleaning the house or cooking require it.
- If you wish to avoid mistakes and handle efficiently whatever you do, you need attention and focus.
People are born without with the power of attention. If you wish to gain this ability, you need to devote time and effort to train it, just like any other ability.
We try to focus the attention of a child through play, reading stories, or by teaching him or her to perform small tasks.
As children grow up, we want them to focus on their studies and homework.
These activities help, to some extent, to develop the power of attention, but they are not enough. We need more and better ways to avoid the distractions that take the attention away.
At times, the attention becomes strong, though involuntarily, and without exercising real control over it.
When this happens, you experience a total blankness to the outside world. This might happen, for example, when you get absorbed in watching an interesting thriller, or while reading a captivating book.
Most of the times this happens happens when we are absorbed in activities that we enjoy and love doing.
However, for this ability to be useful, it should be under the control of your will. You have to be able to decide where and when to focus your mind. Real and effective power of attention should be available whenever you need it.
Daily Opportunities for Improving the Attention
There are plenty of opportunities to improve the power of attention.
Every day, we come across plenty of opportunities that we can use to strengthen the power of our attention, but too often, we disregard these opportunities.
Actually, we can turn every action into an exercise for developing this wonderful skill.
- Strive to focus your mind on whatever you are doing, on eating, drinking, walking, working, and on everything else.
- Strive to fix your attention without stress and tension.
- Avoid following and getting absorbed in unrelated thoughts.
- It is most rewarding to practice concentration exercises, but if you cannot find the time and place to practice them, you can turn the whole day into an enjoyable exercise. Just focus on whatever you are doing, and in time, your ability would improve.
In this way, you will strengthen your attention and concentration, and do everything better, more efficiently, and even faster.
In time, as your power of attention gets stronger, you will be able to fix your mind on whatever you choose, and be able to ignore distractions and unrelated thoughts. You will discover that you can absorb yourself in whatever you do for a long time without anything disturbing you.
9 Tips for Strengthening the Power of Attention
- When reading a book, fix your eyes and mind on the words and meaning, and avoid thinking about anything not connected with what you are reading. Try to ignore outside noises and any irrelevant thoughts.
- While dressing up, put your whole attention on the act of dressing.
- While having a shower, pay attention to every part of the body that you are soaping and washing.
- When you clean the house, mow the grass or cook, concentrate on each act and movement, without daydreaming or thinking about something else.
- While working, focus your mind on what you are doing, as if it is the only important thing in the world, even if you do not like your job.
- While working up, walking, or engaging in any kind of physical activity, don’t daydream or think on whatever enters your mind. Instead, focus your whole attention on what you are doing.
- In conversation, listen attentively to what people are saying.
- While eating, focus your mind or your food and on enjoying it.
- Always do one thing at a time.
You don’t have to follow all the above advice all the time. A few minutes, now and then, when you have the time, will do wonders for you, and develop your power of attention. Persevere, and you will gain a useful ability, which will help you on many situations in your life.
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