The Attention Diet

Who owns your life anyway?

Does it seem that your life is dictated by the whim of some indifferent, uncaring personality leaving you with a feeling of being owned by others?

Well, for what it’s worth, you’re not alone.

Far too many people go through life following the established patterns and expected behaviors of the well-adjusted citizen.  Get your education, find a job, buy stuff, get married, settle down, have kids, make some friends, go on vacation, get a promotion, make more money, buy more stuff etc., carefully never rocking the boat or really questioning who’s running the show, just trying to get ahead, pay the bills and your taxes, “keep it in the middle of the road,” try to fit in and be “normal.”  It’s not really all that bad now . . . or is it?

Sound familiar?

Then one day when you wake up to find that 45 plus years of living have slipped away and you’re closely approaching the half-way point in the game.  “Whoa there big fella, wait just a New York minute here . . . lets not count me out yet, you say out loud if as to affirm that you’re still alive with dreams intact and a willingness to pursue them . . . if I could only find the time.”

You know that you still have something yet to offer and more to accomplish that does align with your purposes but instead, you decide to buy that hot new motorcycle, the convertible that you didn’t think was practical before, the second home on the lake, travel, etc., etc., . . . and this even works for awhile.  You begin thinking, “Is this really what it’s all about?” and no matter what, this nagging feeling that something’s still missing, just doesn’t go away.

Herein lies the rub.

After gorging yourself on a steady diet of super materialism-saturation, you’ve gotten fat with the idea that you’re winning, when you’re losing again.

You’ve been sold on the idea that by getting all this “stuff” somehow matters; that the idea of being accepted and being “normal” is worth striving for.

What the hell is that all about anyway?

I used to have dreams and goals that were exciting and energizing, didn’t I?  Now, I’m stuck on this treadmill making more money to pay for more stuff!  Enough already.

It’s time to take back control of your life, after all, you’re still the one in charge even if you have been asleep at the wheel for the past 40 years or so.

The Attention Diet

I suggest that it’s time to get you on what I have called, “The Attention Diet.”

The goal of this diet is to get your attention back under your control and knock of wasting what may be your most valuable asset.

So, first lets take an inventory of where you spend your time.  Write up a list of every activity you are engaged in.  Don’t leave anything out.  Just make a list of every little thing that you do.

Next, go through the list and separate out the activities into various categories like, work, exercise, family, routine chores, phone calls, emails, watching TV, surfing the internet, computer work, driving, hobbies, friends, eating, paying bills, personal enhancement activities, study, etc., as many separate categories as you like.

Then try to segment them into one of three different general areas.

  1. Activities you do for yourself.
  2. Things you do for you and your spouse, kids and family.
  3. Group activities, work, hobbies, sports, etc

Now your life has continued on without you and all you have to say is, “sometimes it’s tragic, sometimes it’s magic, but it’s been a good life all the way.”

Power of choice?  Limited options?

Well, hold on to your hat.

I am of the opinion that I own my own life.

For better or worse, I’m stuck with it.  And how I handle it determines how much (or little) I will like my life and myself.

If you put yourself in the position of insisting that your life is determined by the whims or dictates of some other person or entity, you have severely limited your options.

Yes, you are influenced by others and others influence you but in the end, you’re the one that determines your actions and activities and everything else associated with you.  You are the causal agent in your universe.

To assume otherwise is to ultimately place you at the effect of some other persons’ universe, and it seems so to me this is not an optimum situation for anybody.

After all, life is still in you today isn’t it? Why not use what you’ve got and do what you’ve got to do when you’ve got to do it?

What do you have to lose?

Daniel Jacobs, 2005

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