The Point

Why should you pay attention?

I sure haven’t, so why should you? For longer than I care to admit, I wasn’t paying attention. I’m not proud of that but it’s a fact, and you can’t argue with fact.

Then when I was in my late twenties, a white-haired gentleman told me, “Pay attention to others’ mistakes. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself, honey.” Talk about a revelation. (Naive as I was, I didn’t know he was simply quoting Eleanor Roosevelt.) 

That’s when I began collecting stupid-behavior stories the way others collect stamps. That was humbling. When I started paying attention to others’ mistakes, I started noticing a few of my own. Well, actually, A LOT of my own.

I began to realize that I’d gone through life, up to that point, definitely NOT paying attention. I’d had some painful kicks in the shins, and some very embarrassing experiences – and never figured it out. Yikes! Here’s where I grabbed myself by the throat and hissed, “PAY ATTENTION!!!

You know how
we like to blame others?

Right about here in our story, I started blaming the older folks in my life who hadn’t hauled me into court for not paying attention. But, truth be told, they probably had and I – you’re way ahead of me on this one, aren’t you? – wasn’t paying attention.

All of us need someone in our lives from time to time (okay, maybe every day) who lovingly smacks us lightly on each cheek and says, “Hello? Anyone in there? Wake up! Smell the coffee!”

I really am serious when I say I truly do wish someone had done that to me a little more insistently than they did. I might’ve learned from my own and others’ mistakes, eliminating the need to keep making the same mistakes – recycling yesterday’s faux pas, as it were.

I’m guessing you’re wishing the same.

You’d never have slogged this far if you weren’t. Okay, Unseen and Unknown Visitor to my PayAttention! blog, here’s the deal. I’ll expose myself to a boatload of embarrassment in hopes of sparing you a few of life’s two-by-four-between-the-eyes headaches and the inevitable embarrassment that accompanies them.

First, let’s cover the disclaimers.

I am not a psychiatrist. I am not a psychologist. I’m not even a “certified counselor” in anything. But then – good news – this isn’t a blog about why we self-sabotage. It’s merely a blog filled with examples of smart and not-so-smart behavior. It’s a blog written to help us all pay more attention to both kinds of behavior and make better choices.

Living successfully is in our DNA.

Though I’m not Methuselah-age, I have been on this planet for 60+ years. In all those years, I can’t think of a single time I’ve heard someone say, “I’d like to fail. Oh please, dear God, let me fail.” On the contrary, most of us say to ourselves, “I want to succeed. I want to be a success!” It’s inbred. It’s part of our DNA, regardless of who our ancestors were or how dysfunctional our home life is/was. And I don’t see any logical reason why you should be any different.

Ready? Okay, then. First thing: flip off cruise control. Absentmindedly traveling down life’s highway stuck on cruise control is no way to travel – not if you’re serious about paying attention. You’ll need to pay attention to the other drivers a little more, not to mention the highway itself, as well as thinking about what you’re observing.

Otherwise, reading these PayAttention! blog posts will be a colossal waste of your time. And we don’t want that, do we?

© 2013 Teresa Layne Bennett