The more people have to attend to, the harder it is to get their attention. Attention is a precious resource. […] What if instead of showing up to get attention, we showed up to give it, without expectation? Imagine the resources we could build if we spent the majority of our time attending to how we could help instead of trying to be seen.*
Now I think that what makes you alert is to be faced by a situation that is beyond your control so you have to be watching it very carefully to see how it unfolds, to be able to stay on top of it. That kind of alertness is exciting.**
The thing about giving attention is that it opens us up to more understanding and wisdom.
And we are changed in the process.
Whereas getting attention leaves us with what we have, or not much more. And we remain unchanged.
Giving attention is a risky business, though. We are unable to control our new discovery, appearing clumsy and incompetent in the eyes of others.
We are trying to know something in order to understand it, in order to wisely move it up and to the right.
Pioneers and explorers know there’s always something out there that they don’t know and cannot understand … yet.
They are prepared for things being very messy before they make sense for the majority.
You may have spotted what the real risk, however.
Which is to stay where we are.
*From Bernadette Jiwa’s The Story of Telling blog: Giving Attention vs. Getting Attention;
**From Tim Harford’s Messy.