This is probably the most important aspect of the generative cognitive requirements.
Look, I’m not qualified to say really which is more important, but it strikes me that attention is foundational and at the moment under a great assault, more so than say the acquisition of general knowledge or the ability to make connections.
What we attend to shapes us. It is as simple as that.
And, given the current state of the technological world we find ourselves in, attention is currency. Don’t buy it? The fact that a multitude of powerful and sophisticated entities are working to capture our attention should be proof.
Political parties, news media, entertainment conglomerates, sports teams, consumer brands, social movements, governments, religious institutions, social media platforms, advertisers, and content providers of every strip are all vying for our attention.
They work to captivate us. To catch and hold our gaze and their goal is to occupy our minds and to get us to act in ways that benefit them.
Now, I’ve rattled on before about this in emails and in other posts. My point here isn’t to convince you of anything other than the fact that your attention is valuable and there are a myriad of forces trying to get it.
But, what you attend to effects your ability to be creative.
The creative act is coupled to attention and what we attend to feeds, or conversely starves, creativity. It is the thing that sets the stage for creativity to happen.
We focus our attention, and thus our minds, on a given thing. We take it in, think about it, consider it, interact with it. It occupies our minds and so doing what we attend to changes us.
Because of this, we should be mindful of, and purposeful about, what we attend to, knowing that if we attend wisely, we will experience the creative act at some future point in time.
This probably would not be as much of an issue as I think it is if 1. we attend with purpose (we typically don’t), and 2. what we attend to was of high quality (it typically isn’t).
If we were purposeful about our attention and we focused mailing on the more meaningful aspects of the human experience, instead of being caught up in the raging runoff stream of social media, entertainment, and mainline news, we would find ourselves in a wonderful position to experience creativity regularly.