One Of The Best Gifts You Can Give
I’ve written and spoken a lot about one of the great challenges of the hyperconnection we now experience via the interweb, and that’s what Linda Stone calls Continous Partial Attention (CPA). It’s the experience of being “always-on,” always-connected, always alert to the flashy, glittering things that come across our computer screens, phones, TVs, etc. With CPA, we are movtivated by a strong desire not to miss out on anything. It keeps us in a state of perpetual vigilance that can often make it difficult to focus on the here and now, especially on the person or task right in front of us.
In light of our hyperconnectivity, I believe one of the greatest gifts we can give each other is the gift of our full, undivided attention. Many of us may not even remember what it’s like to receive that gift from someone. Or we may be unsure we’re able to give it anymore. Like getting out of shape in the winter months, our attention-focusing skills may be a little sluggish or flabby (just me?). Either way, what if you and I were to give the gift of our full, undivided attention to one another this holiday season? Maybe it would be for an hour over coffee (turn off the cell phone). Maybe it would be a thoughtful, long email to a friend you haven’t been able to connect with for a while in person. Maybe it’s listening – really listening – to grandpa’s “When I was a kid” story one more time. Whatever shape it takes, let me encourage you (and myself at the same time) to consider how we might give this particular, very precious, gift to each other.