Selling Our Attention

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I heard this phrase the other day – “selling our attention.”  Initially, I dismissed it as just another generic part of a conversation. Then I realized that the term was being repeated in my mind.  One of those annoying things that unconsciously repeat and repeat in your brain for no apparent reason.  Well, since I’m a medical person and tend to look at most issues from a health point of view,  I decided to follow the workings of my brain and think about this phrase.

I was drawn to memories of my days in medical rotations and health internships.  When a patient came to an emergency area for care the first question asked was: “What is your medical issue?” The attention of both the patient and medical staff was on the medical need – restore the health of this person.  The issue of payment or insurance coverage wasn’t addressed until care had been given and the patient was recovered. Patient follow-up to a medical clinic or doctor office was scheduled for ample time so that specific care could be provided and only then would the patient be sent a bill.  Possibly, the post-op care was included with the initial visit and no charge was billed for the follow-up care. The attention was on providing quality care for the patient. Today, I spend a large amount of money to maintain medical insurance as a fortification against financial ruin in lieu of a medical emergency.  I am indeed selling my attention to the medical insurance company so that they can certify me eligible to obtain care in a medical facility.

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My brain again repeats the phrase: “selling our attention.”  I’m reminded of the amount of money I spend each day on maintaining my computer function, television operation, telephone maintenance, and other electrical and technical appliances in my daily life.  Some of us even spend money to listen to certain types of radio programs.  All of this wave-based information providing technology consumes our attention and we pay for it.  I remember the day when people watched their television for free.  Once someone bought their television set, they plugged the set into the electrical outlet and simply chose which channel to watch.  Didn’t have to pay for the service or endure painful commercials.  Today we pay to not only watch certain “bundled” television channels but we also pay to watch questionable TV based commercials.

The phrase “selling our attention” will probably be repeating in my brain for awhile.  It’s interesting how a small saying can get such big attention – like a focused feline.  All I know is, I’m now more aware of how and where I focus and sell my attention.

 

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She Sent A Gift

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A young woman sent a gift to one of her girlfriends.  It wasn’t elaborate or expensive or elegant. It was just an item that caught her eye when she was shopping for something else.  The small item was almost an afterthought.  She dropped it into her large shopping bag where it fell to the bottom and was hidden in the crease.

In the glee of unpacking her newly purchased treasures, she forgot about the tiny item and absentmindedly threw it away along with the used shopping bag. She didn’t think about it again until she was getting ready for bed that evening and was reviewing the days’ activities.  She jumped up from her chair and ran to retrieve the bag from the trash.  Unfolding the crumpled bag and digging through the multiple creases she finally spied the article, unharmed.

Examining the present again, she realized that it was indeed the perfect gift for her friend.  Maybe it wasn’t just an accident that she found this item?  Did something tell her to buy the present?  Could she be motivated by something she didn’t understand?  Whatever she was feeling by just looking at the present motivated her decision to give the present to her girlfriend the very next day.

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Springtime Activities

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We have all been there.  Enjoying the full wonders of nature as the earth, temperature, wind and solar system all cooperate to present the ideal environment for us to enjoy the full benefits of nature.  We shed our heavy coats, get rid of our wool scarves, hide our gloves, put away our snow boots and leave our insulated pants and socks in the drawer.

Our energy level seems to rise to a fever pitch – mimicking the bursting sap of nature.  There’s something about smelling, seeing and experiencing the kaleidoscope colors and scattering scents of nature blooming that inspire us to do the same.  We imitate nature and therefore gain energy from being part of the process.

The holidays of the season – Easter, Arbor Day, Mother’s Day, etc., even seem to be “light” holidays.  The colors that we chose to celebrate these days are generally pink and yellow and green and blue.  We all feel healthier because the environment around us appears healthy.

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So, to stay within the spirit of the holiday season, I’m wishing everyone a very Happy Springtime. Enjoy.

Define Yourself

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When you meet someone their first impression is formed within 3-5 seconds.  It’s up to you to determine what molds that impression.  Defining yourself is the mark that remains after your first meeting is concluded. What activities do you perform on a regular basis to define yourself?  What does someone else see in the first 3-5 seconds of meeting you?

Obviously, if you are devoting your time and energy toward positive activities, then the impression will be favorable.  Just the opposite is true – negative past times will equal negative results. So, the old idea seems to apply in this matter.  If you’re not spending time defining yourself then the first impression that your project will be nondescript or even negative.  You are not memorable.

However, time spent eating a healthy diet, engaging in appropriate exercise, staying well hydrated, concentrating on wearing a clean, professional wardrobe, engaging in good personal grooming habits, expressing yourself in social activities and challenging yourself to expand your personal vocabulary will lean toward forming a positive definition of a first impression.

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Defining yourself also extends to the area of personal integrity.  Only you know what decisions you have made about your inner self – your moral core.  How far are you willing to go if a friend asks you to do a favor that might be in the legal “gray” area?  How difficult would it be for you to keep a secret?  Especially when that secret would be so very easy to share. Would you cheat on a report at work if you thought that your paycheck would be greater?  Would you betray a friend if it meant a promotion for you? Would you steal something and then deny that you did?  Would you shoplift from a store if you wouldn’t get caught?  Would you leave the scene of an accident that you had caused?

Only you can answer these questions.  The answers define you.

Networking

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Attending my Local Author Showcase proved to be an excellent networking opportunity.  I was among a multitude of local authors invited to this professional “meet and greet” affair.  The guest speaker was Robyn Carr who offered valuable insights into successful writing, editing, publishing, and marketing.  It was quickly obvious that the networking among the assembled talent at this presentation resembled the activity within an active beehive.

The local library that sponsored this public event was funded by state, national and federal sources.  This fact made the event even more successful since it attracted a wide range of sponsors and area businesses. A major university was well represented and offered instruction in the areas of book preservation, paper restoration, and document storage – all areas helpful to authors.  Staff members at the library enlisted local volunteers to assist them with author check-in procedures, public information areas and seating for the guest author presentation.  It was obvious that this event encouraged total community involvement.

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I was instantly reminded of the networking process that occurs with an “indie” author when a manuscript is ready for publication.  A collection of specialties are needed to move the written work into a finished book – especially for an independent writer.  As we have all found out, sometimes the writing of the work is the easy part.  Then comes the editing – then re-editing, and then editing again and once more.  Format is important. Don’t forget the layout and the cover, back, and spine.  Of course, one must always consider the ISBN and all of those options.  Publisher and publishing can be a convoluted maze all unto itself.  So, by the time that a book finally returns back to the hands of the author as a finished product, the networking that has occurred reaches unbelievable proportions.

However, and this is important, without networking this busy beehive of activity would not and could not occur.  It takes a variety of skilled professionals to bring a book into the view of the public.  Next time you’re at a function and you meet a fellow author, extend your hand and offer a friendly greeting.  Be proud of your networking skills.

Healthy People/Unhealthy People

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Maybe where a person lives determines their health status.  Maybe where a person lives influences the factors that cause disease? In the book “Social Determinates of Health – A Comparative Approach” Alan Davidson states “the extent to which something poses a risk to us depends on our level of susceptibility or our resilience.”  Maybe our health depends on the combination of where we live and the choices that we make.

Leah Curtin, RN, ScD(h) FAAN in her article in American Nurse Today (Vol.13, #2) cites the Black Commission which outlines Britain’s National Health Service that found social conditions are important to the health of the population and your level of education relates closely to your disease risk.”  If these facts are true, then where we live and what we chose to do with the information that we have does make an impact on our health.

The idea of social determinates focuses on the interrelated conditions and factors that influence the health of a total population over the course of a lifetime.  In a greater viewpoint, it is the context in which people live their lives – the availability of everyday social, economic, educational and health resources that are available to the average person, that determines the health of a population.

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Could it be that social parity is more influential than individual health habits?  Or do the healthy choices that individuals make each day determine the overall health of the neighborhood in which they live?  Whatever the answer is, it’s obvious that the context in which a person lives exerts a great influence on their overall health status and possibly their individual life expectancy.  Healthy or unhealthy, statistics show that we all have a choice.

 

Front Row Seat

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You have followed your dream.  You have reached the pinnacle of your career.  Only the most prominent people get to sit in the front row seats.  You are on view for everyone to see and acknowledge your accomplishments.  You are obviously a “doer.”

However, there is always a flip side to front row seats.  Remember that the rest of the audience is sitting behind you.  They are watching you and listening to you.  They expect you to lead the way, to know the answers.  Obviously, you have achieved success so you must know how to get things done, to get results.  The audience is filled with people who may be just as talented or as smart or as knowledgeable as you but you must know something special.  Something that no one else knows.  They want to know your secret.  They are looking to see if and when you will reveal your closely guarded secret so that they too can be eligible to sit in the front row seats.

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This is when responsibility comes into the picture.  Since you will not always be the one who is sitting in the front row seat, you must be able to prepare others to take over that duty.  There are a few techniques that you might find helpful to complete the job.

  •  being a teacher gives someone else access to your knowledge
  •  remaining approachable allows other to ask questions and develop new ideas
  •  handing initial ideas over to others for further development  shows leadership
  •  positive reinforcements encourages “trial-and-error” development and initiative
  • Someone deserving of a front row seat always keeps the audience in mind.

 

Check-In

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The month of March is a good time to check-in to see how New Year’s Resolutions are progressing.  Everyone has had a few weeks to work out some kinks in their firmness and dedication.  There has been time to refine a schedule and determine a routine so that we all should now be fairly well set into a regular cycle of activity.

So, how are things going?  Obviously, there have been a few bumps and detours along the path with maybe a couple of starts and stops.  However, the focus is still clear and our mental persuasion keeps reminding us that we remain true to our decisions.

Possibly, some of us have really not done anything.  But, I’m sure that it’s only a couple of us and we are still totally committed to refreshing our commitment to those ever-precious goals that will enrich our lives and encourage the betterment of the community.  That staunch focus helps us to renew our commitment that made us decide on the New Year’s Resolutions in the first place.

Some of us decided to increase our exercise by walking or running on a daily basis.  Others are going to ride our bikes in the open air to expose ourselves to nature and clear skies.  A few have signed up for yoga and stretching classes but we haven’t always been able to attend on a regular basis.  Only a couple chose to train for an upcoming marathon and that workout is going fairly well – although most of the training is a little too strenuous.

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It seems like things are going really well. Our goals are being met and we’re feeling healthy, calm and centered.

Now possibly, just possibly, if there are just a few of us who have slipped just a little bit and not been able to meet each and every landmark that we set for ourselves, do not despair.  It’s only March.  There’s plenty of time to renew, refresh and reuse.  You can check-in with yourself and check-out your progress – go forth…

 

 

 

 

One Match

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The penniless widow sat in her dark, dingy apartment shivering.  Her few resources include a well-worn shawl, home-made candles, her favorite rocking chair, companion books and an unused wooden match. Most of her elderly friends are unable to climb the wooden stairs to her second floor lodgings.

A knock at the door startles her and pierces the silence of the secluded room. “Martha, why are you sitting here in the dark.  If you would just light the candle, the room would fill with light and you could see to read your cherished books.  Those books have always given you comfort even on the days when you didn’t feel well. You could then use the light from the candle for the flame in the fireplace.  It would warm the room.”  With great effort, the elderly woman turns toward the visitor with a surprised look on her face and responds.  “But if I use the match to light the candle then the match is gone. I may need the match for something later.  I don’t want to use it up.”

In astonishment the visitor responds.  “Martha, you are sitting here shivering in a dark room.  You could use the lighted candle to guide your way down the hall to talk with your neighbor and borrow a box of matches or a couple of candles.  Then you would have light and heat for a long time.  You could also meet a new friend.”  With stubborn conviction Martha responds. “But if I use the match it will be gone and I might need the match for something later.  I don’t want to use it up.”

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I challenge you to light your match.