Most of us heard this from a teacher or a parent, probably as a young child. No surprise we were told or reminded to pay attention because it’s much easier to be distracted (or attracted) by the bombardment of stimuli… sounds, sights, smells, what we touched or tasted. As adults we may not be told (as often) to pay attention, but those sensory inputs/stimuli are still very prevalent. Had a meeting at Starbucks lately?
In his recent TED Talk, Apollo Robbins, a talented practitioner in the dubious job of Pick-Pocket, describes and comically illustrates in his talk on “the art of misdirection”, that attention is something we take for granted, is a resource; and a limited one at that, and how easy it is to be distracted. Click to check out his video.
The 8-minute video is entertaining and funny, but it’s also very demonstrative on how much we miss, don’t see or hear, and just plain doesn’t register. Paying attention is more than listening (on its own a critical competency), and in Coaching its about the core competency of Presence… that’s vital to a client’s success in many ways.
- CHOICE… by being aware of Presence as a limited resource, the client chooses what to pay attention to, and what to not pay attention to.
- INTERESTED… boredom is the natural enemy of Presence; and is offset with the client choosing to be interested in the other person(s), the topic, or situation.
- CURIOSITY… a powerful tool that evokes questions and probing to explore; and producing in the process, powerful Presence.
- MUSCLE… Presence (aka attention) may be a limited resource, but just like a muscle with exercise be strengthened; used more frequently and more successfully.
- RISK… being fully Present involves comfort with not knowing; not controlling, and without a firm agenda; that inherently carry an element of risk.
And so my present to you (pardon the pun)… pay attention please to how often you choose to exercise your Presence muscle, what it is about the other person(s), topic or situation that interested you sufficiently to be fully Present, and how your curiosity works for you.