Attention (quotes)

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Attention is about noticing

  • Attention: Notice taken of someone or something; the regarding of someone or something as interesting or important.  Oxford Dictionary
  • Attention: The act or power of carefully thinking about, listening to, or watching someone or something.  Merriam Webster
  • Attention: To watch, listen to, or think about something or someone carefully or with interest.  Cambridge Dictionary
  • Attention: A state of consciousness based on a concentration of the mind on a single object or thought, especially one preferentially selected from a complex, with a view to limiting or clarifying receptivity by narrowing the range of stimuli.  Dictionary.com
  • PerceptionAwarenessConcentration, ListeningFocusThinkingPerceptionPresenceThe mind
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Our experience of life is defined by what we pay attention to

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Life is denied by a lack of attention…

  • Life is denied by lack of attention, whether it be to cleaning windows or trying to write a masterpiece. Nadia Boulanger
  • From the point of view of the meditative traditions the entire society is suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Jon Kabat-Zinn
  • In this way, little by little, moment by moment, life can slip by without us being fully here for it. Always preoccupied with getting somewhere else, we are hardly ever where we actually are and attentive to what is actually unfolding in this moment. Mark Williams
  • Life just seems so full of connections. Most of the time we don’t even pay attention to the depth of life. We only see flat surfaces.  Colin Neenan
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… and as a result, most of us are only half awake

  • Your life as it is happening is only half lived while half awake, lost in thoughts of the future and neglecting your real and true-life experience by failing to give it the quality of attention that is warranted. You are never fully where your life is, yet you cannot be anywhere else. This is a life of limbo, the in- between place that does not exist, except in the space of your busy mind. Aaron McNaught
  • People live in sleep, do everything in sleep, and do not know they are asleep. P. D. Ouspensky
  • You can become blind by seeing each day as a similar one. Each day is a different one, each day brings a miracle of its own. It’s just a matter of paying attention to this miracle. Paulo Coelho
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Attention is what determines your experience of life …

  • My experience is what I agree to attend to. William James
  • Tell me to what you pay attention and I will tell you who you are. Jose Ortega y Gasset
  • Whether success or failure: the truth of a life really has little to do with its quality. The quality of life is in proportion, always, to the capacity for delight. The capacity for delight is the gift of paying attention. May Sarton
  • Get out of our heads and learn to experience the world directly, experientially, without the relentless commentary of our thoughts. We might just open ourselves up to the limitless possibilities for happiness that life has to offer us. Mark Williams
  • The only difference between the ordinary and the extraordinary is the quality of your attention. Martin Boroson
  • Only one thing has to change for us to know happiness in our lives: where we focus our attention. Greg Anderson
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… for whatever you pay attention to grows stronger in your life

  • Whatever we put our attention on will grow stronger in our life. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
  • Energy flows where attention goes.
  • Concentrated attention is the collection of units of power on a chosen point of intention. James Arthur Ray
  • Attention is like sunlight and water for a plant. What we pay attention to will grow. Thich Nhat Hanh
  • What you pay attention to grows. If your attention is attracted to negative situations and emotions, then they will grow in your awareness. Deepak Chopra
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Your attention defines who you are

  • Tell me what you pay attention to and I will tell you who you are. José Ortega y Gasset
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The power and rewards of attention

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Paying attention brings great rewards

  • The best way to forget one’s self is to look at the world with attention and love. Red Auerbach
  • I think the one lesson I have learned is that there is no substitute for paying attention. Diane Sawyer
  • Pay attention. It’s all about paying attention. Attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. stay eager. Susan Sonrag
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Attention is at the heart of learning and discovery

  • You learn something every day if you pay attention. Ray LeBlond
  • If I have ever made any valuable discoveries, it has been due more to patient attention, than to any other talent. Isaac Newton
  • Life offers its wisdom generously. Everything teaches.  Not everyone learns.  Life asks of us the same thing we have been asked in every class:  “Stay awake.”  “Pay attention.”  But paying attention is no simple matter.  It requires us not to be distracted by expectations, past experiences, labels, and masks. It asks that we not jump to early conclusions and that we remain open to surprise.  Rachel Naomi Remen
  • Curiosity is as much the parent of attention, as attention is of memory. Richard Whately
  • LearningDiscovery
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Attention is at the heart of wisdom and understanding

  • Intelligence is the door to freedom and alert attention is the mother of intelligence. Jon Kabat-Zinn
  • You’re a wise person if you can easily direct your attention to what ever needs it. Terence
  • When we talk about understanding, surely it takes place only when the mind listens completely – the mind being your heart, your nerves, your ears – when you give your whole attention to it. Jiddu Krishnamurti
  • Wisdom and understanding can only become the possession of individual men by travelling the old road of observation, attention, perseverance, and industry. Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  • WisdomUnderstanding
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Attention is at the heart of all genius

  • If there be anything that can be called genius, it consists chiefly in ability to give that attention to a subject which keeps it steadily in the mind, till we have surveyed it accurately on all sides. Robert Quillen
  • Genius is nothing but continued attention. Claude Adrien Helvetius
  • Genius
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Attention and the ability to focus it is at the heart of personal effectiveness and success

  • The mark of a person who is in control of consciousness is the ability to focus attention at will, to be oblivious to distractions, to concentrate as long as it takes to achieve a goal, and not longer. And the person who can do this usually enjoys the normal course of everyday life. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
  • Since attention is largely under volitional control—you can direct it with conscious effort—you have an extraordinary tool at your disposal all day long to gradually sculpt your brain in positive ways. Rick Hanson
  • Success in any endeavour requires single-minded attention to detail and total concentration. Willie Sutton
  • EffectivenessSuccess
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Attention is at the heart of awe, wonder and delight

  • The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself. Henry Miller
  • The capacity for delight is the gift of paying attention. Julia Cameron
  • WonderAweDelight
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Attention is at the heart of remembering

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Attention is at the heart of personal transformation

  • Attention is the key to transformation – and full attention also implies acceptance. Attention is like a beam of light – the focused power of your consciousness that transmutes everything into itself. Eckhart Tolle
  • The presence of advanced attention is the only thing that really changes us, and the benefits of receiving it are always extraordinary. Paul Richards
  • Tell me what you pay attention to and I will tell you who you are. José Ortega y Gasset
  • Transformation
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Attention is at the heart of love and care and is the greatest gift you can give

  • The most precious gift we can offer anyone is…our attention. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers. Thich Nhat Hanh
  • To meet everything and everyone through stillness instead of mental noise is the greatest gift you can offer the Universe. Eckhart Tolle
  • One of the greatest gifts you can give to anyone is the gift of attention. Jim Rohn
  • Give whatever you are doing and whoever you are with the gift of your attention. Jim Rohn
  • The greatest gift we can give one another is rapt attention to one another’s existence. Sue Atchley Ebaugh
  • Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity. Simone Weil
  • LoveCaring
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Attention is at the heart of happiness …

  • Only one thing has to change for us to know happiness in our lives: where we focus our attention. Greg Anderson
  • Happiness
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… while letting the mind constantly wander has been shown to get in the way of happiness

  • Another thing we’ve discovered about happiness is that seems to be inextricably linked to the faculty of attention. Or more specifically, our pervasive tendency or habit to not pay attention.  Willoughby Britton
  • People are substantially less happy when their minds are wandering that when they’re not. Matt Killingsworth
  • A wandering mind is an unhappy mind. Matt Killingsworth
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Focus your attention for it is limited and there is no substitute

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See your focused attention as your most precious resource. Don’t squander it.

  • There are a million blogs, people, services, media, competing for our attention. Our attention is limited, and valuable, making it one of the most precious resources we have. The world wants that attention. Only you can decide where it goes.  And it does determine the shape of your life: what you pay attention to becomes your reality.  Leo Babauta
  • Consider what you give your attention to each day. It’s a precious resource, and determines the shape of your life. Leo Babauta
  • Choose what you give your attention to, and do this choosing carefully. What is important to you? Writing? Photography? Design? Coding? Creating a new business that helps others? Your kids? Figure this out, and give this the majority of your attention. Leo Babauta
  • Although your time and attention are finite, the demands on your time and attention are infinite. Merlin Mann
  • Give whatever you are doing and whoever you are with the gift of your attention. Jim Rohn
  • Focus
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Put your full attention on the task at hand

  • There is one thing we can do, and the happiest people are those who can do it to the limit of their ability. We can be completely present. We can be all here. We can give all our attention to the opportunity before us. Mark Van Doren
  • Attention is psychic energy, and like physical energy, unless we allocate some part of it to the task at hand, no work gets done. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
  • We’ve frittered our attention away with a million different tasks, but clearing those tasks so that we put our attention on one thing at a time might just be the thing that transforms the way we live. Leo Babauta
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Therefore, pay attention

  • To pay attention, this is our endless and proper work. Mary Oliver
  • Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it. Mary Oliver
  • That whisper you keep hearing is the universe trying to get your attention. Oprah Winfrey
  • Give whatever you are doing and whoever you are with the gift of your attention. Jim Rohn
  • I think the one lesson I have learned is that there is no substitute for paying attention. Diane Sawyer
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What you pay attention to is the most important choice you make

  • Choice of attention – to pay attention to this and ignore that – is to the inner life what choice of action is to the outer. In both cases, a man is responsible for his choice and must accept the consequences, whatever they may be. H. Auden
  • An expert is someone who has succeeded in making decisions and judgements simpler through knowing what to pay attention to and what to ignore. Edward de Bono
  • Choice
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Pay attention to what truly matters

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Pay attention to the present moment

  • The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it. Thich Nhat Hanh
  • It’s all a matter of paying attention, being awake in the present moment, and not expecting a huge payoff. The magic in this world seems to work in whispers and small kindnesses. Charles de Lint
  • If you pay attention at every moment, you form a new relationship to time. In some magical way, by slowing down, you become more efficient, productive, and energetic, focusing without distraction directly on the task in front of you. Not only do you become immersed in the moment, you become that moment. Michael Ray
  • Live in the present
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Pay attention to the miracle of life and wonders and beauty of the world

  • You can become blind by seeing each day as a similar one. Each day is a different one, each day brings a miracle of its own. It’s just a matter of paying attention to this miracle. Paulo Coelho
  • The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself. Henry Miller
  • The beauty and mystery of this world only emerges through affection, attention, interest and compassion . . . open your eyes wide and actually see this world by attending to its colours, details and irony. Orhan Pamuk
  • Sometimes we forget to pay close attention, and because we’re not doing so, we forget what we’re missing. Paying close attention to anything in our lives helps to remind us of the beauty and wonder of this world, two elements of our lives that thoroughly enrich our experience here.  But only if we allow it to, and we can allow it to only by paying attention to it.  Tom Walsh
  • Every year of my life I grow more convinced that it is wisest and best to fix our attention on the beautiful and the good, and dwell as little as possible on the evil and the false. Richard Cecil
  • Life is a miracle and marvelWonderBeauty
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Pay attention to detail

  • It’s the punctilious attention to detail, in a time when nobody even bothers to get the spelling of your name right. Holly Brubach
  • Success in life is founded upon attention to the small things rather than to the large things; to the everyday things nearest to us rather than to the things that are remote and uncommon. Booker T. Washington
  • A man’s accomplishments in life are the cumulative effect of his attention to detail. John Foster Dulles
  • Life is in the little things
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Pay attention to others for it is the greatest gift you can give

  • The greatest gift you can give another is the purity of your attention. Richard Moss
  • The greatest gift we can give one another is rapt attention to one another’s existence. Sue Atchley Ebaugh
  • The most precious gift we can offer anyone is…our attention. When mindfulness embraces those we love, they will bloom like flowers. Thich Nhat Hanh
  • Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention. A loving silence often has far more power to heal and to connect than the most well-intentioned words.  Rachel Naomi Remen
  • A beautiful thing happens when we start paying attention to each other. It is by participating more in your relationship that you breathe life into it. Steve Maraboli
  • Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity. Simone Weil
  • Give whatever you are doing and whoever you are with the gift of your attention. Jim Rohn
  • You validate people’s lives by your attention.
  • So when you are listening to somebody, completely, attentively, then you are listening not only to the words, but also to the feeling of what is being conveyed, to the whole of it, not part of it. Jiddu Krishnamurti
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Pay attention to yourself

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There are some things you should not pay attention to

  • Don’t pay any attention to the critics-don’t even ignore them. Samuel Goldwyn
  • Do not hope wholly to reason away your troubles; do not feed them with attention, and they will die imperceptibly away. Fix your thoughts upon your business, fill your intervals with company, and sunshine will again break in upon your mind. Samuel Johnson
  • Pay no attention to what the critics say. A statue has never been erected in honor of a critic. Jean Sibelius
  • Don’t pay any attention to what they write about you. Just measure it in inches. Andy Warhol
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Attention is at the heart of spirituality

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Attention is at the heart of many spiritual practices …

  • Nearly all spiritual practices are based on attention. In fact, whenever you think you have lost the path, or whenever you feel confused by esoteric terminology or technique, remember that all these techniques or teachings are various ways to help you learn to pay attention. Rick Fields
  • Zen pretty much comes down to three things — everything changes; everything is connected; pay attention. Jane Hirshfield
  • Spirituality
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… especially the practice of mindfulness …

  • Mindfulness is at the heart of Buddhist meditation practices that teach followers to pay attention to the present moment—defining it as the only moment that exists, in which we exist, an ever- present “now”. Alison Conte
  • Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally. Jon Kabat-Zinn
  • We hear the word “mindful” more and more these days, but what does it actually mean? Being mindful simply means having good control over your attention: you can place your attention wherever you want and it stays there; when you want to shift it to something else, you can. When your attention is steady, so is your mind: not rattled or hijacked by whatever pops into awareness, but stably present, grounded, and unshakable. Attention is like a spotlight, and what it illuminates streams into your mind and shapes your brain. Consequently, developing greater control over your attention is perhaps the single most powerful way to reshape your brain and thus your mind. Rick Hanson
  • Mindfulness is the practice of noticing. Adyashanti
  • Through meditation and by giving full attention to one thing at a time, we can learn to direct attention where we choose. Eknath Easwaran
  • Meditation is the process by which we go about deepening our attention and awareness, refining them, and putting them to greater practical use in our lives. Jon Kabat-Zinn
  • Meditation is essentially training our attention so that we can be more aware— not only of our own inner workings but also of what’s happening around us in the here and now. Sharon Salzberg
  • Mindfulness
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… for the soul thrives on attentiveness …

  • Ten times a day something happens to me like this–some strengthening throb of amazement-some good sweet empathetic ping and swell. This is the first, the wildest and the wisest thing I know:  that the soul exists and is built entirely out of attentiveness.  Mary Oliver
  • The soul
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A Zen Story

  • There’s an old Zen story: a student said to Master Ichu, ‘Please write for me something of great wisdom.’ Master Ichu picked up his brush and wrote one word: ‘Attention.’ The student said, ‘Is that all?’ The master wrote, ‘Attention. Attention.’ The student became irritable. ‘That doesn’t seem profound or subtle to me.’ In response, Master Ichu wrote simply, ‘Attention. Attention. Attention.’ In frustration, the student demanded, ‘What does this word attention mean?’ Master Ichu replied, ‘Attention means attention.’
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On a lighter note

  • I envy paranoids; they actually feel people are paying attention to them. Susan Sonrag
  • If you’re not confused, you’re not paying attention. Tom Peters
  • Hutchison’s Law: Any occurrence requiring undivided attention will be accompanied by a compelling distraction. Robert Bloch
  • Catching my attention is easy. Keeping my interest is harder.
  • You’ve been diagnosed with a serious case of attention seeking disorder
  • Actions speak louder than words…but words sometimes get all the attention. Susan Gale
  • All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.
  • An economic forecaster is like a cross-eyed javelin thrower: they don’t win many accuracy contests but they keep the crowd’s attention.
  • Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves. Albert Einstein
  • Don’t interrupt me while I’m giving you my undivided attention. Ashleigh Brilliant
  • Don’t pay any attention to the critics; don’t even ignore them. Samuel Goldwyn
  • Flirtation: attention without intention.  Max O’Rell
  • I’m so poor I can’t even pay attention. Ron Kittle
  • History must repeat itself because we pay such little attention to it the first time. Blackie Shred
  • Home: A place where a man is free to say anything he pleases because no one pays any attention to him.
  • I look at it this way. I’m not an eavesdropper; I have an attention surplus disorder.  Robert Brault
  • If it’s attention you want, don’t get involved with a man during play-off season. Rita Rudner
  • If you would like to get your wife’s attention – just look comfortable!
  • It’s an underestimation of the intelligence of your average eight year old to believe his or her rapt attention can be held for long by a film like this. Rubin Safaya
  • Jimmy Carter couldn’t even hold his own attention. Will Durst
  • Life is sweet when you pay attention. When it doesn’t seem sweet, put a sticker on your nose and do a funky dance. Whitney Scott
  • No man is lonely while eating spaghetti; it requires so much attention. Robert Morley
  • Perfume: What a woman hopes will make her the scenter of attention.
  • The attention span of a computer is only as long as it electrical cord.
  • The only time that most women give their orating husbands undivided attention is when the old boys mumble in their sleep. Wilson Mizner
  • The planet is in distress and all of the attention is on Paris Hilton. Al Gore
  • The quickest way for a parent to get a child’s attention is to sit down and look comfortable. Lane Olinghouse
  • To attract the most attention a woman should be either nude or wearing something as expensive as getting her nude is going to be. J. O’Rourke
  • What do you have when two green balls in your hand? Kermit the frog’s undivided attention.
  • When a girl marries she exchanges the attention of many men for the inattention of one. Helen Rowland
  • Yeah I called her up and she gave me a bunch of crap about me not listening to her or something. I don’t know I wasn’t really paying attention. Jeff Daniels
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