Given the circumstances, let’s just skip the introduction.
In order to create a better future, the first thing you need to do is lengthen your attention span. The reason for this is that being continuously or frequently distracted prevents you from consciously creating a future that you consider to be better.
In other words, you are in charge of how you direct your attention. If you direct your attention to whatever distractions arise, you are choosing not to be in charge of your own choices. Doing so gives the power of your attention to whatever and whomever you allow to distract you. This is how distractors, such as advertisers, marketers, politicians, and other entertainers, are able to make money and gain influence; they simply gather enough attention to influence group behaviors to their benefit.
As animals, we evolved to be easily distracted by potential opportunities and potential threats. This is why it is so easy to get excited by potential opportunities and alarmed by potential threats. By enticing you with potential opportunities and/or alarming you with potential threats, distractors are able to manipulate your attention to serve their objectives, when you allow them to.
Lengthening your attention span is necessary to maintain your focus of awareness where you choose. This is important because your focus of awareness is the power of your presence. Since what you consider to be better may be different than what a distractor considers to be better, directing the power of your presence towards creating a better future requires you to maintain your power by maintaining your presence in alignment with your objectives.
There are many exercises available to lengthen your attention span. One of the simplest is to repeatedly look at something and count how many breaths you are able to inhale and exhale before your attention drifts off. Some forms of meditation help to lengthen your attention span by encouraging you to focus your attention on your heart, hold an image in your “mind’s eye”, or any other of a wide variety of targets for your mental focus. What is most helpful in this case is that you count the number of your breaths while maintaining your mental focus and restart the count when your attention drifts. In this way, you are able to lengthen your attention without increasing the rate of your breathing.
Before continuing on to Step 2 of this series, take time now and throughout the day to practice lengthening your attention. See how easy or difficult it is for you to maintain your attention — and learn how easy or difficult it is for you to be influenced by distractions and distractors in the process.