The following is an excerpt from the book Your Attention: Your Property by Dan Sullivan.
When we’re fully attentive, we use our capabilities in the best possible way. At these times, we’re at our most skillful, our most strategic, and our most useful.
And it isn’t only the eventual success that leaves us feeling rewarded. It’s also that being fully conscious and attentive while we do the work makes the activity extremely enjoyable.
Someone else might achieve the desired result because they’re skillful enough, but if they aren’t fully controlling their attention and applying it, they’ll be bored with the activity and won’t feel rewarded.
Think about the most rewarding experiences of your past, in any area of your life. When you’ve focused fully on making positive progress, you’ve always been rewarded.
You’re a high achiever every single time you do this. All of your best success, in both your personal and work life, has always been the result of being completely in control of your attention, focused on getting a new, bigger, and better result.
You’re most useful to others.
You know from your most memorable experiences that opportunities to be uniquely useful to others always focus your attention more than anything else does.
Whenever you do this, you feel enormously rewarded, regardless of whether you’re acknowledged by those benefiting from your help. The activity itself is greatly rewarding.
Doing the activity is a personal experience, and you can count on that reward every time because it doesn’t depend on anyone else’s reactions. Nothing feels better than being uniquely useful to another person.
You value what your mind can do with your own experience, and when someone responds in the intended way to your being useful, it’s a double reward because you get proof outside of yourself that the way you think, the way you imagine a solution, and the way you then provide that solution is useful and valuable.
Your skills expand.
Some people will be useful only up to a certain point because if they provide something of value to someone else, they always expect the other person to reciprocate—and they’ll get angry about it if they don’t. But in this situation, they’re giving up control. They’re being controlled by someone else’s non-response, someone else’s behavior.
I’ve adopted the attitude of, “I’m just going to be useful and useful and useful, and everything will work out.”
And it does work out because anytime, and in any way, that you expand one of your skills, you feel immediately rewarded for the effort.
Feeling more skillful—even when it’s the result of responding to difficult, dangerous, and unhappy situations—is always rewarding to you afterward because you had to be fully attentive.
When you don’t fully engage, you don’t enjoy the experience. But when you fully engage, you always enjoy the experience, and you always get rewarded.
You’re clear and calm.
You feel especially rewarded for being attentive in situations where everyone around you is flustered, bothered, confused, and anxious—but you are clear and calm. Almost nothing feels better than keeping your head when everyone else seems to be losing theirs. It is deeply satisfying.
When you’re fully attentive, your actions are economical. You don’t do too much, and you don’t do too little. You just do what’s required by the situation. And that feeling you get from being efficient, doing what the situation requires and nothing more, is a wonderful reward.
You rightfully take pride in those occasions when you maintain proper thinking when other people can’t think properly. Also, when you think quickly and clearly in a situation where others can’t, that’s a sign that you’ve got your act together.
You like yourself.
When you think of those experiences where you were fully attentive, you realize that the biggest reward in your business and personal life is liking who you are. You like who you’ve been so far, and you’re looking forward to who you’re going to be in your life ahead.
When someone is fully attentive, fully present, and fully conscious, there’s nothing not to like about that person.
You’ve built this capability of paying attention, of being conscious, and of taking ownership of your experience, and that can give you a real sense of confidence about everything you might experience in your future.
Even a negative past experience can be seen as important and beneficial to who you are if you take ownership of it.
Your confidence grows.
Gaining greater control over your attention multiplies your confidence about the future.
Throughout your life so far, your ability to pay attention to what’s most important to you has been tested in countless ways. Looking at your life from this perspective makes you feel increasingly rewarded for having passed these tests.
Who you truly are is what you are truly attentive to. In other words, when you have the ability to give something 100 percent attention, that’s who you really are. And that can constantly expand.
It can also start at any moment, even for someone who has made a career of not paying attention. You’d have to put the work in to change long-term—or perhaps even lifetime—habits and develop new ones, and to strengthen those muscles. But you could reinvent yourself based on what you start paying your full attention to. The opportunity to do this is always available.
To learn more about how to achieve more freedom, elevate your life, and propel your business forward by reclaiming your attention, get your copy of the book Your Attention: Your Property.