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The Value of Attentiveness

Is Kony still terrorizing Africa and turning children into soldiers?

Where are all the 20- and 30-somethings demanding jobs from Occupy Wall Street? Were they given those jobs, or did they go out and choose themselves? Or are pretending to be busy with their heads down?

Remember Casey Anthony?

Remember Tiger Woods’s incident?

Remember this senator and that politician and this athlete and that banker and this guy and that girl?

Will you remember the Trayvon Martin case 5 years—hell, 5 months—from now?

Remember how much of the opinion you had, how it affected your day, how it occupied your mind, and how you professed to others what’s right and wrong?

Where is it all now?

Are you a better person? Did you change anything? Did you turn your frustrations into insight and innovation, or did you pander, gossip, and rant? Did you do something meaningful with this information?

I’m not saying to ignore the troubles going on in this world. But there has to be a balance. Spending all day believing that the world is entirely evil, having your worldview molded by what you see on a screen, negates your ability to see the world with your own eyes—to reach an understanding, a connection of dots. It also blinds you from the opportunities to contribute, to make change, to fix what’s broken.

I don’t know where you are in life, but I can bet that the news or the events in someone else’s life is the last thing you need to read and dissect and criticize and understand.

In the words of Marcus Aurelius: 

A key point to bear in mind: The value of attentiveness varies in proportion to its object. You’re better off not giving the small things more time than they deserve.