“You have a gift Jack, you see people.”
“I see you.”
- Jack and Rose – Titanic
The monetization of attention has been in the headlines for quite some time. As a member of the Humane Tech Society, I am part of a group of designers and developers who recognize our responsibility in an ever-expanding technological global society. The more I study, ideate, design and build in this community, the more I realize how important it is for you and me to understand the power and value of our attention.
What we attend to, we literally give our lives to. Even the phrase we use to describe this phenomenon offers insight into how important understanding this concept is: ‘Pay attention!’ We say and hear even from our earliest formative years. The phrase doesn’t in any way hide the fact that when we give someone or something our attention, there is always a cost. So what are you paying for and what are you gaining or losing by spending what I call the life-currency of your attention?
Right now, you're reading this blog, and I’m truly honored to have this moment in time from your life. I don’t trivialize or take it for granted that you have decided to gift me by considering my thoughts, by taking the time to ‘see’ what’s on my mind. What a gift!
The book of Proverbs contains one of my favorite prayers on the matter, it reads, ‘Teach me to number my days, so that I may gain a heart of wisdom.’* And then in the book of Ephesians, it says, ‘Pay careful attention, as to how you walk, not as unwise, but wise. Redeeming the time because the days are evil.’*
I hope and pray that you will join me in this moment, committing to be wise concerning your attention. Please don’t waste it on click-bait. Don’t spend it arguing on social media. Don’t let the hours slip away like sand in an hourglass as you scroll endless news feeds. Don't destroy it by thinking incessantly about your regrets and mistakes. Don’t ‘pay’ for junk that smothers and clutters your life with worthless and even harmful things. Be wise and mindful and watch as your life takes on new meaning as you take responsibility for how you spend the life-currency of attention.
I pray that you will see that your time is worth more than you can imagine because you are a gift and a treasure from God, and you are beloved.
*Psalm 90:12, *Ephesians 5:16