Be 100% responsible for your attention. You are 100% responsible for your attention. No one else is responsible for your attention. That’s the truth. That’s the way it is. So, this class, this direction is be 100% responsible for your attention. Some of us didn’t learn how to be responsible for our attention and I could catalog all of the different ways that our culture doesn’t teach us how to be responsible for our attention. And yet, it’s kind of a cosmic joke because even though we’re not taught to be responsible for our attention, we still are responsible for our attention. And I’m saying right now, it’s the responsibility of our primary teachers to teach us these kinds of things. Well, a lot of us had primary teachers that didn’t teach us this. And our culture, the primary teachers of our culture don’t teach this.
Okay, listen up here. Here’s what I’m talking about. See if you can get this picture. Infants. Infants, toddlers, if they’re in a reasonably an average to above-average safe environment, when they’re awake and alert and not in distress, they’re 100% responsible for their attention. Their eyes are moving all around. Their eyes are taking in everything. Their eyes are… Yeah, but it’s not scared alertness. It’s interested alertness. It’s like, “What’s going on? What’s going on? Ooh, what’s going on over there? What’s going on over there? Oh, what’s going on over there?” If you’ve been a parent or if you’ve been around young children, you know what I’m talking about. So we are born with the capability of being 100% responsible for our attention.
So how did some of us get distracted from that? Well, our primary caretakers, our primary teachers, “Pay attention to this. Pay attention to that. Pay attention… This is what you need to pay attention to.” They started doing that and what do you know as a nine month old or a six month old? Well, it probably doesn’t start that early. It probably does start that early, but in the way I just framed it, it probably starts in the toddler ages. “Oh, look at the train. Oh, look at this.” And your teachers are telling you, “This is what you’re supposed to be paying attention to. This is what you’re supposed to be paying attention to.” Wait a minute. When you were one month old, you didn’t need somebody telling you what you needed to pay attention to and now you’re a year and a half and you need someone else to tell you what’s most important to pay attention to? And you know what? Most of the time when parents and grown ups are doing that, “Look at the bird. Look at the doo doo.” They were probably interrupting your attention.
Now, if you’re a child development worker, person, you know what I’m talking about. Now, I’m not saying it’s not the job of our teachers to tell us what’s most important to pay attention to to be successful in life. Not at all. But what I’m saying is that what’s most important is to teach this attention responsibility piece. And if you’re an adult and you go interrupting a toddler or a baby with pointing out stuff to it on and on, which that happens a lot. Grown-ups do that a lot to little kids. “Look at the train. Look at the sky. Look at the dolphins. Look at the birds.” You know, anything out of the ordinary, unusual, it actually sends a message to this child, “You don’t have enough capability to choose to pay attention to the bird or the train.”
Like, what kid is not going to be paying attention to a train if they’ve never seen a train before? And did they really need you to point out the train to them? Now, actually, you pointing out the train to them or the school bus or the truck, those are things that grown-ups point out to little kids a lot, “Look at the truck. Big truck.” What you’re doing when you do that is you’re actually sending a message, “You need me to be responsible for your attention.” Right. Okay, so that’s the first wrong of how our culture doesn’t teach us to be 100% responsible for our attention.
Then, I’m going to skip over to school. Okay, well, hello? There are you are. The whole school setup is actually what I just outlined there. You got the teacher saying, “Pay attention to this. Now, pay attention to this. Now, pay attention to this. Now, pay attention to this. Oh, you’re not paying attention to this. You should be paying attention to this.” Our whole educational system encourages you to not be 100% responsible for your attention. Wow. And that pretty much goes from young childhood and through PhD programs. I mean even to do a PhD thesis, you got to get this committee to agree on what you can pay attention to for your thesis. I mean that’s overstating it and I’m sure the range is in there, but essentially, that’s it.
So, wow! Wow! Even if you have a PhD in something, that doesn’t mean you’re real skilled at being 100% responsible for your attention. It might just mean that you’ve been very, very… You’ve done… You’ve put attention to what your teachers have told you to put attention on. Wow! Yeah, that’s not what this class is about. This class is about you developing your skill to be 100% responsible for your attention. Okay. Wow! Wow! I mean this is so basic. I mean, my wow is like, wow!
You have always been 100% responsible for your attention. You are 100% responsible for your attention, but our culture, our modern cultures… And this has probably been going on a long time. I mean it’s not any different in the United States culture from the Vietnamese culture or the Chinese culture or the Indian culture. Yeah. Now, I haven’t experienced Vietnamese culture other than knowing a few Vietnamese people and I haven’t experienced the Chinese culture, but I’ve experienced the Indian culture a lot and it’s just… Their teachers teach you to pay attention to different things than the United States culture teaches you to pay attention to.
But neither of them really teach you to be 100% responsible for your attention and I give a big, big wow to that. That’s off. That’s off. And I am sure that the people, I’m sure, I don’t know if there’s research that supports this, but I’m sure that the people who are most successful in their fields, which is what we all want, we all want to be successful in life, I am sure that the people who are most successful are people who, well, at least in their career field. Be 100% responsible for your attention. That’s the coaching class today. That’s the focus of the class today. How responsible are you for your attention? That’s my suggestion that you study that. You study that.
If you already get the gist of this class and the gist of this skill and you resonate with the reality that you are 100% responsible for your attention and that being, actually being 100% responsible for your attention is an active consciousness piece and maybe you can improve on that. Then study yourself and study how responsible for your attention are you? How easily do you get distracted from choosing your attention in those moments you’re not being responsible for your attention? How often do you get irritated at things that you need to put your attention on?
Well, that’s another indication that you’re not being responsible for your attention in those moments. This is an empowerment skill. This is a self-empowerment skill to be 100% responsible for your attention. This is a choice skill. This is a mental health skill. If you’re not at choice with your attention, that’s an indication that your mental health in that moment is not optimal. Yeah, I’m linking right in this moment attentional health with mental health. Attentional health equals mental health.