What is the most important thing that we possess in our life, yet we are constantly giving it away? It's also the key to unlock our potential, overcome fear and experience true happiness.
Before you read any further, please take a quick moment to stop, think, and ask yourself:
What is the most important thing I possess in my life?
Is it your health? Family or freedom? Or maybe your business, hobbies or interests?
On the surface, whatever you said is right as much as it’s wrong, because the real answer to what's our most powerful possession and the key to happiness, is on the other side of the same coin, and looking to answer is analogous to being a fish that's in water trying to look for water. (Credit goes to Sam Harris for this powerful analogy, from the 'Waking Up' Meditation Application) < Which I highly recommend.
Okay, so most people will reply with similar things I mentioned above, health, family, interests and so on and all these answers tend to reflect our core values, which are just the tip of the iceberg: they are only what comes to the surface.
Before I dig a little deeper and reveal the diamond to uncover your true happiness and potential, I ask you to first consider a theory in psychology proposed by Abraham Maslow in his 1943 paper "A Theory of Human Motivation".
According to Maslow's hierarchy of needs first our basic, primal needs for survival have to be met: food, water, sleep, shelter, sex... Then next is our safety needs: personal, emotional, financial security, health and well-being. Then it's the relationship with oneself and our families that guide our motivations, behaviours and experience of the world.
Okay, so here is the answer...
The most important thing that we have and we constantly giving it away… is (drumroll...) our ATTENTION!
"Attention is a precious commodity" - Brian Solis
The BIG wealthy business, companies and cooperations know this. That’s why they all spend billions of money every year on advertising, to get our attention and influence our behaviours towards their businesses and brands, buying unnecessary comforts and services for decades, to make us all consumers, and it worked.
First it was the newspaper, then the radio, then TV, now the biggest corporations have created the super steroid for controlling all our attention… It’s called SOCIAL MEDIA.
It’s the biggest attention consuming, influencing, educational controlling tool of all.
When we give someone or something our attention it influences and controls all our decisions.
"The more attention you pay an enemy, the stronger you make him. Be attentive, but don't be paranoiac" - Paulo Coelho
ATTENTION GUIDES ALL OUR DECISIONS! What to believe, what to think, what to do, what to buy, when to care… Everything.
Most people think that time management is important, and it is. Having good habits, healthy routines and a schedule can be an important part of being, and having such a structure can serve us well.
You might be reading this and are blessed with amazing intellect and have a beautiful family, but it means nothing if you don’t give them your attention because attention is the currency of time, which makes it more important than time.
“LIFE IS SUFFERING” - Is the basis of a Buddhism doctrine known as the Four Noble Truths and this I agree with in principle, because even if you are living in the best circumstances on earth, life is suffering.
We can re-frame this perspective with a quote from the legendary British-American philosopher Alan Watts:
“Life is a journey, on which we have to learn, and teach ourselves to know, how to enjoy ourselves”
It's true, life is stressful and too much stress can lead to anxiety and depression, yet it’s not stress that’s the problem because stress in moderation is as good as anything.
The stress of discipline, hard work and developing yourself to help others and to improve your environment and ecological situation allows us to create a better life for everyone.
When we aim our attention, we are more capable of facing and solving the problems that create our stress. That's the great thing about problems, they each come with a solution or a seed for growth.
Stress when met with positive, focused attention is good and gives us energy, purpose and motivation, especially when it’s built up from our core values.
Our modern day problem is most people don’t even know their core values, let alone live by them and are becoming unhealthy in body and mind.
Because not everyone has good habits, in fact the majority of us don't, and many feel lost, anxious, sad and depressed much of the time, and much time is wasted.
How many people tell themselves… “I don’t have time for the gym”
yet they waste hours of their lives on Instagram or scrolling through Facebook, for what benefit?
People are constantly distracted and disconnected from reality and instead connected to the world of posting selfies and demonstrating value, looking at seeking the approval of others to get them likes (click, click…Dopamine hit!)
This reality begs the question: is our attention the key that empowers us to fill our minds, bodies and actions with good intentions? Then, why are we giving it away? Or more specifically, how did we get to this point of giving our attention to distractions like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and gaming.
What correlation is there between our distracted attention, low self-esteem and narcissistic behaviours with obesity, allergies, and depression? Maybe, re-focusing our attention can offer some important insight?
We all know that a lack of exercise, bad nutrition and loss of sleep can make us physically sick.
Is it possible that giving away our attention is part of the reason why more and more people are getting sick, both physically and mentally?
So what is the most important thing in your life? What are you giving your attention to?
“We become what we think about all day long” - Ralph Waldo Emerson