Your Attention – A Precious Resource

Reading in the April Issue of Science of Mind Magazine, I read the following quote by Gary Malkin, “One of the most precious resources that human beings have, is the ability to pay attention; an attention that uses all parts of our self…”

Look at that again, our ability to pay attention is precious. And yet how are we using this resource? Look around a conference and see how many people are reading their Blackberry’s or IPhones instead of listening to the speaker they paid hundreds or even thousands of dollars to see.

Over the last year I have spent the majority of my time on the phone with my business, selling and conducting webinars. People often comment on how well I “read” the room even over the phone. (I think I still have a ways to go). How do I do it?

First I clear my desk of things and notes not related to that call. I have been distracted by a note that needs follow up or a call to be returned. And it was to my detriment. Your buyer can tell when you are distracted.

Second, I have turned off my email alerts. You will not hear my email notify me that, “You’ve got mail”. Because my calendar is a part of my email I typically have that screen open so I can track appointments and such but not email.

I listen and I listen hard. When you listen with intent you can hear pain, distraction, stress, openness, interest and so on. This requires that you put your needs second and pay close attention to the needs of the person on the other end of the phone. When the person on the other end of the phone feels heard their trust in you goes way up.

We can explore a whole range of nuances with Attention. Including the idea that what we pay attention to tends to flourish, how our ability to focus on a task improves the outcome and probably even more.

Today let’s leave it at how will you pay attention today and tomorrow


  1. Thanks John, good reminder.

    I understand John Gates in the early days of building Gates Rubber Company would not let an employee leave work until his or her desk was clear.

    My problem is how do I get from here to there. Years of clutter. A real problem. “That which I would do, I do not.”

    Has clutter every been a problem for you? If so, how did you go from clutter to clean desk? I’m going to subscribe to your blog, will look forward to your answer.

  2. John,

    Thanks for reading and your comment. By no means do I want to suggest that I do not have a lot of paper. But when I am going to be making calls and or demonstrations, they go into a pile. That way I have my notes and the demo only in front of me. Then when I wrap up the calls I can get back to my other work.  I try to schedule my time into blocks and then within those blocks I have specific tasks like (return calls to… or proposal for …)

    I used to work for a guy that had only what he was working on on his desk. I aspired to that. I learned his secret…Mary his assistant had all of the other paper.

    Take Good Care,

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