Concentrate, just… concentrate. I recently watched a video featuring Jordan Peterson discussing the Egyptian god Horus, who was highly revered by the Egyptians. Horus is often represented by an eye, similar to the one found atop the pyramid on the US dollar bill. The video emphasized the immense power of attention, and I believe there’s truth to that notion.
Have you ever doubted your ability to accomplish something? It happens to me frequently. In those moments, I often find myself subconsciously searching for excuses to avoid focusing on the task at hand, whether it’s a challenging project or a difficult article. However, I’ve come to realize that even if you initially lack the skills to complete a task, perseverance pays off.
The place where you can reap the most benefits from this underrated superpower is at work. What work does is present you with a problem that also proposes a solution, if you’re willing to follow the steps needed to arrive at the ideal outcome you have in mind. It’s figuring out the steps that require your attention. They emerge after a while of just focusing on the task you want to work on.
The Stoics were big on attention and living in the moment, braaaaaw! Their concern is solely what they can control, and the past, and the future, do not form a part of that list. We’re here, and here is where we need to live.
“The greatest obstacle to living is expectancy, which hangs upon tomorrow and loses today… The whole future lies in uncertainty: live immediately.” (Seneca Letters from a Stoic, 1.5)
“Concentrate every minute like a Roman — like a man — on doing what’s in front of you with precise and genuine seriousness, tenderly, willingly, with justice.” (Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 2.5)
It is said that our attention is the most precious asset, more valuable than oil. It’s astonishing that there are people working all over Silicon Valley with the sole focus of keeping your attention for the longest time possible. However, our attention is often challenged by common distractions and obstacles to concentration, such as social media, multitasking, and constant notifications. These can make it difficult to maintain focus on what truly matters.
I think what has helped me the most with harnessing the power of my attention is, first, the massive rage I feel about being a slave to social media and the obsession with discovering what my friends are doing. The second thing that has helped is meditation. We all want to feel amazing all the time, but the reality is that we often feel lousy. It’s because we feel lousy that we want to pay attention to everything but our feelings of discomfort, but in doing so, we’re sacrificing our power of attention. To be able to be present, we need to accept whatever we’re experiencing at any moment and work with it.
Attention is indeed like a muscle, and you can, in fact, get fucking ripped. This is the goal. It may feel challenging at the beginning, but once you’re able to fully immerse yourself in the present moment — embracing the good, the bad, and the ugly — you will be able to work with reality as it is and live a noble and valiant life.
By cultivating self-awareness and harnessing the power of attention, you can achieve greater success in both your personal and professional lives. Remember, it is through practicing attention that we can create a more fulfilling and meaningful life. So, focus on the present moment, embrace the challenges, and watch your attention muscle grow.