Pay Attention to this Post

Farnam Street is Shane Parris’ blog. Shane’s stated goal is to go to bed each night smarter than when he woke up. Farnham Street is where Shane lets us sneak into his mind and snatch a little of that getting smarter stuff. Shane is a voracious reader with a keen ability to distill the knowledge he has gained and share it in a clear and concise way. What we love about what Shane does is how he includes extensive critical quotes from the book and guides you through them with his own thoughts in a way that leaves you smarter (and more cocktail party impressive).

Recently, Shane turned his attention to Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life by Winifred Gallagher. Rapt explains that we create our lives by focusing our attention, or not, on certain aspects of the world around us. Attention is “the concentration of the mental powers” and, Gallagher points out, we have the ability to control what we pay attention to. That being the case, focusing on the good will expand your world and make you healthier and happier.

While we often can’t control what comes our way, we can control how we react to it. This is the flip side of the failure narrative which emphasizes failure with little or no reference to success. This is not only unproductive, it’s unhealthy. To paraphrase Parris: pay attention to what it is you pay attention to.