The Power of Attention

Multi-tasking has come to be thought of as an essential skill in today’s world, and those who are (seemingly) able to juggle three text conversations as they sip an espresso and listen to an audiobook all while driving are lauded as paragons of efficiency.

Indeed being able to crank out more “do” from the same time interval is an impressive feat, more often than not we end up spreading ourselves too thin…

The act of being present in the moment, or exercising mindfulness in daily life is a concept that is gaining more and more attention in our society however, and while it does make sense in a feel-good zen kind of way, is there anything to it?

Something I have noticed consistently is that when my cat invites me to play, there is a clear difference in how he responds depending on the mindset I am in when playing with him, even when I play with him in the exact same way with the exact same toys:

  1. Playing with him, but having my mind elsewhere (thinking about plans tomorrow etc.) = cat gets restless and bored in a couple minutes
  2. Playing with him and being totally focused on the play (being present) = he is WAY more energetic and will play for long periods of time

These experiences with my cat have demonstrated that the energy associated with being present is clearly visible to him and greatly affects his mood. Though I can clearly tell the difference in the quality of things I do mindfully, I found it remarkable to observe that this extends to others as well.

For me the take home message is that not only can mundane daily activities like vacuuming or slicing vegetables be treasure troves of new discoveries when we fully engage ourselves with the activity and become present, but that interacting mindfully with others has a great impact on the quality of that interaction.

Leave a Reply