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The Intention/Attention Mix

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The Intention/Attention Mix

I gave my friend Jane a document to review the other day. And I requested some very specific feedback.

I will read it with INTENTION and ATTENTION, Jane declared.

Jane was in the midst of a hectic day. Conference calls, juggling three projects, preparing for a road trip.

Intention and attention. The writer in me is tickled by the alliteration. The words alone bring me joy. More significantly, Jane’s answer offered instant comfort. Jane was going to take this document review seriously.

Sometimes it’s critical that we read a document “in neutral.” Read to simply be informed.

Intention, however, means we DON’T read in neutral.

We read to answer a question. We read to edit. To discover underlying meaning. To solve a problem. To challenge our assumptions. To expand our horizons. We read with a mission. And this mission fosters a firm commitment to the task.

Attention means we give it our full focus. Even on a day when full focus seems hard to attain.

We choose to switch gears from what we were doing. We choose to tune out external distractions. We choose to quiet our mental chatter.

Related: In the Absence of Interest, Choose to Be Curious

We fully surrender to one task alone.

Intention and attention together? Yes. We have just picked up our game. We have created a richer purpose for performing a task. We have committed to a singular focus. And by doing so, we have jumped to a deeper level of engagement.

Better yet, we have heightened our enjoyment of this task. Because the moment we consciously commit to whatever is at hand, a new sense of delight in that very action will reveal itself. Even when we have avoided the task or consider it a bore.
So simple, isn’t it?

Want to pick up your game this week? Play with the Intention/Attention mix. Go into a meeting, a phone call, a negotiation, into any situation, really, fully committed to your intention and attention.

You will be more satisfied with the outcome of the event. And you will have experienced a greater sense of joy.

Now, you want that, don’t you!

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