One of the greatest gifts you can give to someone is your time and attention. A line that I read a year ago on a website and guess from which site? One of the most attention-grabbing websites, Facebook. Somehow, we all agree with this statement, I saw many of my students who have connected me over social media, shared this post multiple times on their FB walls. Even some people tag it to their besties. It’s a powerful feeling, to get attention – I agree. But What happened when our cravings to all these attention goodies finally fulfilled? And we get all the attention from our favourite people whom we always fascinate in our lives. If you ask me, my experience was not entirely happy.
I think the first time I can remember using my personality to get attention when I was nine. We all have our first childhood crush in the form of a friend or a relative like cousins, and there was I am. My first crush was my classmate, and as a nine-year-old, I always bragged about how well I can read alphabets in front of her 😀 . One day when I finished reading alphabets, she turned to me and said ‘show-off’ at one instance my urge to seek her attention was fulfilled, but on the other, a new wave of feeling emerged for her – the feeling of Hate 🙂
Maybe the situation might go opposite but again, that shifting of an urge to ambition make things worse. Then there’s another powerful feeling that people have been lucky to experience a lot. And it’s quite funny because it doesn’t come from getting attention. It comes from paying attention. People with great focus and discipline often narrow their attention while working. Both the behaviours, attention-seeking and paying, have its own benefits. People achieve big in both material and personal lives while paying attention to their life goals. But when the urge becomes an ambition, as was in my case, the consequences might be disturbing.
In the modern world, adolescents, who crave for adrenaline all the time, are easy prey to that ‘attention-syndrome’. Teens often toss themselves into the sea of attention, and the recent struggle to breathe in the social chaos (wave). Researchers believe that teen’s creativity is becoming more and more of a means to an end – and that end is to get attention. The more they go after that powerful feeling of paying attention, the happier they are. But the more they go after that powerful feeling of getting attention, the unhappier they are. That urge to getting more and more never satisfies.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, an actor and filmmaker, expressed in his TED talk, that ‘How does the social media platform like, for example, Instagram, make money? It’s obviously not selling a photo-sharing service – that’s for free! So what is it selling… It’s selling your attention. It’s selling your attention to advertisers. When you post on Instagram, you get a certain amount of attention based on the strength of your followers. The more attention you’re able to get, the more attention Instagram can sell. So it’s in Instagram’s interest for you to get as much attention as possible. Slow but effectively.’
Well, my point is not to talk about the attention-driven business model of different social media companies. But the question to you guys is, do you think of craving for attention in either form, makes you more creative and confident? If yes, then think again. Try to evaluate what makes you confident? Is it that attention-craving or the true you who is veiled behind that craving? To be honest, that addiction will always be with you, as it always with me. I still sometimes crave for attention but in the end its not the craving that makes me happy, it the feeling that no matter what other feel or thinks about me, I am the greatest of all – at least for me.
Be yourself, always – 😊