Jeremy Pettitt on Communication and Culture

The Most Valuable Thing In The World

Posted on April 07, 2019

In the past, people believed that money was the most valuable thing in the world. Some would work hard for it and spend it carefully. Others would lie, cheat and steal for it. While still others would hoard it or spend it vainly to look important. We still do all of these things.

But that age has past.

Money is no longer the most valuable thing in the world.

In our more recent history, we came to believe that time was more valuable than money. We often traded our time for money only to realize that we could not get our time back. The trade did not work both ways. So we became more careful about how we used our time. We invented terms like “social capital” and “work-life balance” to help us clarify how we use our time. Many people still speak as though time is the most valuable thing around.

But that age has also past.

So what is the most valuable thing in the world?

Undivided Attention.

In our day and age of over-scheduled efficiency and mobile phone notifications constantly distracting us, undivided attention is the most difficult thing to obtain.

Consider the last time someone gave you their undivided attention for a mere five minutes.

No interruptions.
No distractions.

They just paid attention to you.

Can you remember it?

I’ll wager you can because it has become a rarer and rarer experience in our digital world.

When someone gives you their undivided attention, the world slows down. You can feel their gaze, as if everything you are communicating matters. You know that what you say, what you think, what you feel matters immensely to them.

So let’s ask the harder question:

When was the last time you gave someone else your undivided attention for five minutes?

Five minutes of no texts, emails, messages or calls.

Five minutes where the chirping of your mobile device didn’t matter.

Five minutes where you ignored all of the other interruptions vying for your attention.

Where you invest your undivided attention will tell you what is important to you.

Where your treasure is, there your heart is also.

Who needs your undivided attention today?

Who needs to know that you care enough to invest in them and show them how valuable they are to you?

Even if it’s just for five minutes.

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