Zia Hassan

Paying Attention

If we pay someone, we’re handing them currency in exchange for something of equal value.

So what happens then, when we pay attention? We hand over the currency of our awareness, of the present moment. In exchange, we expect something of equal value. In the cases where my attention payment has resulted in something of equal value, I’ve learned a life lesson, or seen something provocative. Something within me has changed.

But what happens if we pay for something and get something of lesser value in return? We’d feel ripped off. We’d want our money back.

It makes me wonder why we don’t feel this way when we get low quality content back when we pay our attention to things like social media or the comments section of basically any website.

Did we get an hour, or whatever time we spent, worth of value back in return? I can think of very few times Facebook provided this kind of return and even less examples of Twitter. YouTube, on occasion. Podcasts, more frequently than anything else but those are slightly more reliable at the moment.

I place the value of attention above any other currency, including money and even time. We all have roughly the same amount of time, and if we have less than someone else it’s usually out of our control.

And we don’t “spend” time – time spends us. The only thing we have to give is our attention. Let’s invest mindfully instead of spending frivolously.