It turns out that attention isn’t just about getting focused, it’s also about opening up. Opening up to new ideas, opening up to your intuition, and opening up to luck.
In this episode, I chat with writer and podcaster Jonathan Fields about how to cultivate “exquisite attention,” a finely tuned awareness that allows us to unlock new possibilities for creativity, connection, and luck.
We talk about the two types of attention we use to navigate the world — “focused awareness” and “open presence” — as well as how our attention impacts our roles as creatives, leaders, and romantic partners.
Key takeaways from our conversation:
- How attention relates to being lucky
- The two types of attention: “focused awareness” and “open presence”
- Why your ability to pay attention to emotional bids creates healthier relationships
- Practical ways to become more conscious of where your attention is
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“If I start from the basic assumption that attention is life, then how I cultivate my attention and direct it, is how I live and cultivate my life. To not spend time obsessing about this to a certain extent is sort of saying, ‘I don’t particularly care how my life unfolds.’”
“We’re taught that to succeed in an endeavor, [you should] identify exactly where you want to go, and then reverse engineer the steps, and then put blinders on, and focus on that, and only that, and jettison your attention from everything else possible. It turns out, that may not be true.”
“To me, the difference between a really good creator and an extraordinary creator, part of it is skill, but part of it is pure awareness.”
A shortlist of the people and ideas referenced in our conversation:
- Jonathan’s podcast, The Good Life Project
- Convergent vs divergent thinking in creativity
- My interview on the role memory and intuition play in the creative process
- John Gottman and the idea of “emotional bids” in relationships
- The “big five” personality traits
- Richard Wiseman’s research on luck
- The “pygmalion effect” on performance
- Jonathan’s book on navigating uncertainty
- Joseph Campbell’s abyss and the hero’s journey
- Follow Jonathan: Podcast | Website | Twitter | Instagram
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