Selling Our Attention


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.


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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