It’s important to understand that the power and ability you have to create in the world is amplified so much more by discussing deeper concepts than by always talking about how to get more traffic or how to get sales.
So on that note, let’s talk about freedom and arrested attention.
What Freedom and Arrested Attention Have to Do With YOU
Freedom and arrested attention is an unusual phrase. I have to actually credit Nathan Otto for bringing it to me; it has derivations through spirituality and enlightenment. This is cool because sometimes we think of enlightenment or spirituality as a pursuit or a kind of particular bent, but when you frame it as freedom, we can all relate.
We all inherently scribe for the experience of more freedom, which is that sense where whatever naturally comes up for you is the thing that’s needed, cherished and wanted in the moment. With this type of freedom, you don’t have to constantly guard yourself or obey rules created by yourself or others to avoid inadvertently letting your true nature come out and screw things up. (That would be the opposite of freedom.)
What is Arrested Attention?
Arrested attention is any repeated thought that you can’t easily dismiss. I think some of the most subversive pieces of arrested attention are things that we have categorized in our brain as things we like because we obsessively think about them. I used to really like cars and I would obsessively think about cars and catalog the cost, features, and age, and condition of every car I saw at all times.
It was compulsive.
If a Ferrari drove by, I would cease to be able to continue in the conversation because my attention would just be grabbed by it. Obviously sex or a beautiful woman, those are other very common things that grab people’s attention. In fact, these disturbances kind of locate around sex, money, and food; the areas where people have most of their attention arrested.
How to Free Yourself
If you catalog all the thoughts you have repeatedly that you can’t easily dismiss, whether they’re apparently pleasurable or not, that’s your catalog of the ways you are bound, the ways you are not free.
The exercise of liberating yourself, of becoming really, truly a free person is to find out what fantasy you’re living, or what you’re trying to prove. What lie about yourself are you wondering is true or not? What insecurity are you trying to combat with that kind of conversation?
Start to untie that. For me now, if a Lamborghini or Ferrari drives by, I might look at it and appreciate it for half a second or so, but I would have no problem continuing being engaged in conversation. Because that conversation is now more valuable to me than observing someone else’s object.
Another real tangible example is the experience of being around very, very successful people and being intimidated. Or being intimidated by talking to an attractive woman. All of the energy goes straight up into your head and you think, what do I say? What do I do? What’s the pickup line? How do I act? Your attention is arrested looking for certain tactics or strategies.
Where Are You Pointing Your Flashlight?
It’s my belief that your attention is one of the biggest resources you have as a human being, and I’ll go even farther. If we were to use the metaphor of your universe, then the universe (the reality that you’re perceiving) is a function of where you’re focusing your attention, kind of like a flashlight.
Imagine the universe as a warehouse with every possible thing inside of it and your experience of the universe all depends on where you’re pointing your flashlight. Because that flashlight is illuminating a very small fraction of the entire universe, but that small fraction is what you’re able to see and interact with and perceive.
What I want is for you to get really good, become a ninja with your attention. Learn how to put the flashlight exactly where you want it. If you’re continually being pulled around, then those influences are basically creating your reality. You’re no longer creating your own reality. I want to welcome you into actually taking back and creating your reality based on where you’re putting your attention.
Freedom and Entrepreneurship
Less of you is able to be present when you’re sitting there reacting to reality, versus literally generating it and creating it. So to take this into the realm of entrepreneurship, entrepreneurs are fundamentally creating something that didn’t exist. As I said in a prior post, you are creating a new dimension that you want people to live in. A world in which you’ve solved a particular problem and everyone benefits from this solution.
This requires you to have free attention to deliberately point your flashlight towards something new, instead of the light being dragged around by your arrested attention.
That concept, that idea of liberating yourself and taking inventory on where your attention is arrested, where you feel a lack of freedom and choice, is a deep dialogue that you need to have with yourself. You might be surprised to find where your attentions lie.