Noticing Life

A couple of fellow bloggers published posts about boredom last month. Their reflections interested me because I have mixed feelings about the subject. In fact, I wrote something about it in 2011 and again in 2014. My basic takeaway was that when we pay close attention during our boring hours, boredom becomes incredibly interesting. How we react to boredom or excitement or normal times is worth pondering.

We have a common belief that the major incidents and milestones happen as the consequences of major decisions and dilemmas. While, this may be true in some instances, if we pause and pay attention to life, we understand that our most influential actions are the mundane, ordinary aspects in everyday life. By paying attention to life’s everyday actions and thoughts we learn much about ourselves. Our habits help determine the outcomes of major events and milestones.

There are several techniques to help us pay attention. They range from journaling to formal meditation. Whatever methods we choose, they should help us notice when we become worried and anxious and see them as fleeting mental conditions. We can acknowledge the thoughts and then send them lovingly away. Doing this helps us notice life in the present moment, at least for a little while.

Paying attention to life in the present allows us to find balance. When we notice that we are thinking or acting to extremes, we can settle our minds to some mental space in the middle. Ideally, we form the habit to sustainably thrive in mental awareness for longer periods of time. To do this requires a modicum of reflection, courage, action, and attention to the give and take relationship between tension and relaxation. When we do this regularly, life becomes more manageable.

“As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.”–Andrew Carnegie

Words are cheap–anyone can say and write them. What matters is when a person’s words reflect their actual habits and actions. By paying attention to our relationship between words and actions, we perform a reality check on our lives. The simple act of paying attention to what we say and do can take us a long way towards the good life. Like a competent school teacher must hold her pupil’s attention to be able to teach her lesson, we must hold our own attention to be able to teach ourselves. This prevents us from bumbling around, having to repeat our mistakes over and over again. Learning our lessons not only makes life efficient, it enables more enjoyment.

We don’t have to be a Michelangelo or Mozart to profit from paying attention to life. We can make it a lifestyle choice. It’s just a matter of paying attention to our surroundings, noticing our mental filters, cognitive biases, confirmation biases, and the level of objectivity we practice. These all influence what we focus our attention on, what we ignore, and our willingness to expand our conciousness.

In the end, the manner in which we notice life has a lot to do with how we participate in life.


The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes 20th century Spanish philosopher, José Ortega y Gasset. “Tell me to what you pay attention and I will tell you who you are.”

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in Contemplation, philosophy and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Noticing Life

  1. Pingback: ReBlogging ‘Noticing Life’ – Link Below | Relationship Insights by Yernasia Quorelios

  2. rkrontheroad says:

    There is much to be said for slowing down and contemplating our lives. I find inspiration from the times I am not so busy and can take walks and let go of stress.

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