Pay Attention. That’s the best advice my Dad ever gave me.
Dad was incredibly perceptive. He always knew that any moment on the other side of the station wagon parked in the driveway a block and a half away, a kid with a blue ball was about to run out into the street. Sure enough, by the time our car approached the station wagon, out darted the little boy chasing a blue ball.
How did he know that? He paid attention; to everything.
Did Dad have some special gift that gave him some super powers? No, he trained himself. Wherever he was, his head was up and his eyes were in contact with everyone and everything around him. A person couldn’t pass my dad by without Dad making eye contact with them and saying hello or at least acknowledging their presence.
Today, we are so stuck to the 4-inch or 7-inches of screen in front of us that we’ve become totally disconnected, and clueless, to what’s going on around us. The Mobile world has so captivated our attention we’ve become a danger to our own selves.
I read where a woman was killed at a CVS recently. Her assailant walked up behind her and hit her in the head with a liquor bottle. Now I would not begin to surmise what happened, nor would I attempt to pass any kind of judgement, but I would venture to say that if she was paying the slightest bit attention to her surroundings, just maybe the incident could have been avoided.
If the woman would have noticed someone coming up behind her and turned to make eye contact with them, just maybe she could have distracted the assailant enough to avoid the confrontation. The report stated the women was also standing in line with her daughter. So not one, but two people, (not to mention the workers in the store at the time of the incident) were not paying attention to their surroundings enough to recognize the odd behavior of a guy with a liquor bottle in his hand.
How much more tragedy could we avoid if we were simply paying attention? On the roads, in the store, walking along the street. If we were dialed into the present rather than into the digital world maybe we could avoid such tragedies.
Pay attention was the best advice my father ever gave me. I now teach that same principle to my children. “No one is looking out for you, you have to look out for them. When you walk into a store, take notice of those around you. Most important, LISTEN TO YOUR GUT.”
One of the greatest dangers of the digital age, I believe, is that it desensitises us from instinct. Our attention is so preoccupied, our instinct is slowly eroding away. When is the last time you actually looked at, with your eyes and senses, what you are taking a picture of? We are so obsessed with a copy we’ve lost interest in the original.
Consider paying closer attention to the world around you more than one created by the 4-inch screen in front of you. Put down what has your attention long enough to realize the one breathing down your neck in the line at the convenience store. Make time for reflection without taking a selfie to capture it.
Pay attention. It’s the best advice my Dad ever gave me, and it could just save your life.