This is a repost from my personal blog. I wrote this almost four months ago but it still resonates with me when people take someone’s attention for granted. I hope posting it here may prompt additional feedback from the people reading this blog.
No, you’re not annoying, just boring! Attention is the new currency in our world and you need to offer something in exchange if you want me to listen to you. Telling me what to do, how to do it, when to do it doesn’t cut it anymore. Teaching me old solutions for old problems doesn’t inspire me anymore. I get what I need to learn to cope in this world from other places!
Yes, I learn from YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, blogs… I learn from my neighbor who is obsessed with vintage cars and spends all his free time with oil on his hands. I learn from William half across the world who harnessed the wind to save his family from starving. I learn from Mark up in Maine pondering the question of mind while wondering if his bees have lessons for human communities.
We’re told to pay attention to our teachers, parents, elders. The common wisdom has it that without attention you won’t learn anything and become a bum. There is some truth that attention is important, but the failure in the common wisdom is the assumption that the attention is absolute, can be defined and can be instilled in kids from young age.
This assumption leads to treating those kids who never learn to master such absolute attention as failures. Or worse, medicating them till they turn into living zombies after highly paid psychiatrists label them with stickers like ADD, ADHD, etc.
Well, the secret is out! There are almost 7 billion people in the world and none of them is the same: — we all learn differently, — we all like different things, — we all pay attention to different stuff that interests us, not necessarily you!
It is time we tear down the walls of the orderly world of black & white absolutism and enter the scary but exciting and colorful new world of infinite challenges and (at the same time) infinite opportunities!
My kids are taught rules, I teach them when to break them! My kids are taught to listen, I teach them to dream! My kids are taught to behave, I teach them to have fun! My kids are taught to remember solutions, I teach them how to spot problems!
Am I the only one?