I was struck twice in recent days by the same notion. Once while watching a TV series, and then again when reading a news article. What hit me hard was the notion that what we pay attention to is what becomes the story. I know, I know, we’ve heard this before, but it was particularly poignant in that today’s news is full of unsavory stories, wild accusations, and snip-its that become headlines, but are they really the story? Are we putting our attention where it matters?
The scene that really brought this concept home for me was from House of Cards. I’ve since stopped watching the show because I couldn’t handle it, but that’s a different blog post altogether. Before leaving the world of Frank and Claire Underwood behind, I did manage to find one good thing to bring forward into my life, so I guess I can count that as a win. The set-up and the scene are the following:
Claire Underwood is the Vice President’s wife. A picture has been released of Claire presumably in another man’s bed. The Underwoods begin an elaborate plot to manage the fallout, and set up a press conference to basically enact their scheme, in other words, they plan to flat out lie. Yes, Claire was cheating on her husband.
The news conference was being covered by a swarm of reporters. It was the latest hot story in Washington, and just about every reporter wanted a piece of it, that is, except for one. Janine Skorsky is a reporter covering the White House, and as she stands waiting for the Underwoods to address the press, she mumbles how she hates this. Another reporter asks her what she hates, and she responds, “The affair, it’s bullshit. It’s like a tabloid hack.” As she walks away, her peer asks her where she is going, and she says, “to do something meaningful with my time.”
It was those words – “to do something meaningful with my time” that struck me. How many moments, hours, and days have we wasted focusing on something that is really insignificant to us personally? Our access to information today is unprecedented. How easily we can get caught up in something making headlines, a bit of gossip, or the latest he said-she said that may or may not actually be worth our time, or may not even be a story at all.
Where we spend our time matters. We create our reality based upon where we put our attention, and our attention drives our destination.
“Only one thing has to change for us to know happiness in our lives: Where we focus our attention.” ~Greg Anderson