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4 States of Human Attention

Something magical happens when you speak in the past tense. Speaking in the past tense improves human interactions and profoundly effects human attention.

Your spouse, children, boss and clients prefer you to interact with them in the PAST TENSE. “I paid rent”. “I took Sarah to school”. “I completed your website”. “I closed those 3 deals”. In order to achieve past tense, actions must be taken. Actions are human attention in the right here, right now. Actions are always expressed in the present tense. “I’m working”. “I’m making dinner”. “I’m building your website”. “I’m calling on prospects”.

4 States of Human Attention
The 4 States of Human Attention map to the 4 States of Matter

It occurred to me that outcomes and actions are the exact same thing except in a different state. Human attention in a solid state is undeniable. Everyone sees the exact same thing. In this diagram, everyone sees a small black sphere. No one sees an orange square. However, liquids are subject to interpretation. In this diagram, I use a cupped hand. Some will see the water. Others will only see the hand. Those that see the water will argue about its purity. Others will see the cupped hand as only half full.

I’ve noticed recently that human attention will NOT stay on outcomes for very long. Human attention naturally moves toward higher and higher energies. The more energy your attention has the fewer others can interpret it. Your promises are the exact same thing as your outcomes except they are expressed in the future tense. “I will take Bobby to the movies after work tomorrow”. “I will pay rent”. “I will close those 3 deals this month”. “I will take out the trash”. Promises are like gas, they are impossible to see but they fill the room.

If you want to improve your human interactions, concentrate your human attention into solid form. Speak in the past tense. When applying for a job you do not list your interest, promises or actions on your resume. You only list your OUTCOMES. Your future employer is only interested in your past accomplishments.

Your human attention is designed for surprise and wonder. It is how it keeps you alive. It will always migrate toward a plasma state. It takes discipline and courage to concentrate your attention into action and meaningful outcomes.

Your actions are subjective to opinion and criticism. Your outcomes are undeniable. If you want people to listen to your ideas, don’t describe your plasma! Show them your ideas in a solid state. Human attention in a solid state is the only way to truly collaborate on complex ideas.

Be receptive to criticism of your outcomes. Constructive criticism is the feedback mechanism required to continuously improve.

I’m John Rector. I’m the President of Social Media Target, LLC. My purpose is to help you make the leap from the curve your on to the new one that is right in front of your eyes. I’m $60 per hour.

Written by John Rector

John Rector is the President at Social Media Target, LLC. He is the co-founder of E2OPEN. His original works (videos, images and blog posts) are seen by millions of social media users daily. At IBM, he implemented Supply Chain Management (SCM) solutions at the top 50 electronics companies in Asia, The Americas and Europe. He is the winner of six Golden Circles.

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