Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity. – Simone Weil
Having a passion or an interest in something makes us pay attention to the world through the lens of that passion or interest and that’s how we cultivate the genius within ourselves. Paying attention to the world is also, the doorway to cultivate gratitude.
This is such timely idea/reminder especially in this digital era of constant alerts, buzzes, notifications, and other distractions.
Attention … is the taking possession by the mind, in clear and vivid form, of one out of what seem several simultaneously possible objects or trains of thought, localization, concentration, of consciousness are of its essence. It implies withdrawal from some things in order to deal effectively with others, and is a condition which has a real opposite in the confused, dazed, scatter brained state which in French is called distraction, and Zerstreutheit in German.[The] kind of deep attention that we pay as children is something that I cherish, that I think we all can cherish and reclaim — because attention is the doorway to gratitude, the doorway to wonder, the doorway to reciprocity. And it worries me greatly that today’s children can recognize 100 corporate logos and fewer than 10 plants. That means they’re not paying attention.
Having a selective interest helps navigate the chaos of this world and helps understand the world better.
Millions of items of the outward order are present to my senses which never properly enter into my experience. Why? Because they have no interest for me. My experience is what I agree to attend to. Only those items which I notice shape my mind without selective interest, experience is an utter chaos. Interest alone gives accent and emphasis, light and shade, background and foreground intelligible perspective, in a word. It varies in every creature, but without it the consciousness of every creature would be a gray chaotic indiscriminateness, impossible for us even to conceive.
Clearly, the way to be successful and add value in this world would be to cultivate a passion for a discipline that sustains our attention
Sustained attention is the easier, the richer in acquisitions and the fresher and more original the mind. In such minds, subjects bud and sprout and grow. At every moment, they please by a new consequence and rivet the attention afresh. But an intellect unfurnished with materials, stagnant, unoriginal, will hardly be likely to consider any subject long. A glance exhausts its possibilities of interest. Geniuses are commonly believed to excel other men in their power of sustained attention… Their ideas coruscate, every subject branches infinitely before their fertile minds, and so for hours they may be rapt.When we come down to the root of the matter, we see that [geniuses] differ from ordinary men less in the character of their attention than in the nature of the objects upon which it is successively bestowed.