Let’s initially agree that there is typically a middle ground in most scenarios, and in the context of the subject of attention, this can apply too. In terms of the concept of attention that is focused on you, or perhaps others, I’m sure you have an opinion of whether attention is something you or others are comfortable with. Or not.
Prior to social media existing as we know it today, there were fewer ways to obtain attention in terms of being able to seek it from a wider audience. Perhaps a global one. Chances were good that if you were obtaining attention from a promotional perspective prior to social media, it was costly. Or you were doing something which caught the media’s attention. Attention which was either warranted as positive, or the opposite.
Something I have given recent thought to is what makes some people feel perfectly comfortable with attention being given to them, while others will do just about anything to avoid it? As you are thinking about this too, I’m certain you could easily name a handful of people who fall into either category, or potentially the middle ground too.
In my opinion, one of the reasons that some people seek attention of any kind is to be noticed. This is versus having them feeling they are being unnoticed, and which they find this to be an uncomfortable place to be. Although, the attention they obtain might make them more uneasy, they are willing to experience this emotion over being made to feel they are invisible. So, given this scenario, social media helps to artificially and potentially temporarily support the attention they are seeking. Albeit fleeting attention that isn’t very satisfying.
If someone who is a leader or sports coach, the attention they are receiving may or may not be intentional. However, how they handle the attention is something which is a critical factor to get right. Although, how often have you heard people in these two categories discuss the “course” they took on handling the media well? If they did have the advantage to doing this, they would be fortunate. The reality is that many people have not either sought out or been instructed on how to do this. In my own experience, I did have the good fortune of being trained on how to handle media, and this was also something I studied prior to this training.
Having studied and trained on what I’ll refer to as “attention” was very helpful. However, when I was learning and had my media training, it was just prior to social media coming onto the scene and becoming an integrated mode of how and what our society interacts with on a regular basis. This doesn’t imply I didn’t take the time to learn about social media, I just didn’t grow up with it as some of our current generations have. In some ways, not having grown up with social media has provided me with a different lens on how it influences people. I’m referring to both young and older people who don’t have a wider and in-depth understanding of the manipulation that is often linked to social media. Including the two-sided attention, it offers and provides its recipients.
If we were to take a step back and consider other ways to seek or perhaps avoid obtaining attention on a person, there are a myriad of ways to do this. The first and most easy one today is to limit the amount of social media you ingest. Think about this in the context of going on a social media diet. You would also more thoughtfully curate what type of social media you would be interacting with. I have personally done this over the last few years, and it has made a noticeable difference in terms of feeling like I have more opportunities to critically think about what I want to focus on. This is versus being swayed by whatever is trending.
So, now let’s take on whether striving to be in the middle ground area when it comes to seeking attention is the ideal place to be. From my perspective I will offer that it depends. It depends on whether you are an individual who is naturally comfortable with receiving and handling attention being bestowed upon you, or just the opposite. Or, whether you find yourself comfortably in the middle. My sense is that the middle ground is a wonderful place to be, as you can pick and choose the opportunities you will have when it comes time to the advantages some attention can offer you, and conversely attention that you want to dampen. As I noted earlier, not all attention is positive, but not all of it is negative either.
The concept of attention in terms of it being individually applied may not be something you have given much thought to. If this is the case, below are some suggestions I have for you to consider seeking the middle ground when it comes to being comfortable with the idea of attention, as I’m a firm believer that somewhere in the middle is often the best place to be.
- If you are uncomfortable with any type of attention, ask yourself why this is the case? Did you have an experience or experiences with attention only offering a negative outcome?
- Assuming you had a negative number of experiences with receiving attention, were the circumstances all the same in terms of when this occurred? If so, is there a way to either avoid this from happening, or sort out and break down how you could be handling or experiencing the attention with either a different mindset, or some social skills and tools to help you?
- Do you know someone who seems to look for attention gaining opportunities? If so, think about having a conversation with them about why they enjoy obtaining attention. They might provide you with a new perspective on why they do, and you potentially might benefit from this.
- After sorting through experiences which might have negatively contributed to how you perceive attention to be a less desirable emotion and experience, can you think of reasons why you might benefit from attention you have either been avoiding or not taking advantage of?
- If you have enjoyed being in the shadows, is this where you want to always remain? Are you in the shadows because you lack confidence or are perhaps shy? Maybe both or for some other reason? Consider whether this might also be a phase you are in, or a more permanent state?
- Becoming comfortable with any type of attention when you don’t feel comfortable with it can be quite beneficial. Why? Because tackling this concept and becoming comfortable with any type of attention is going to eventually open so many new types of opportunities for you. You simply must be willing to get out of your comfort zone to give this a try.
- Although you may feel unnoticed, consider whether this is a self-fulfilling outcome, or whether it is aligned to your innate fear of having any type of attention shining upon you.
If you can wrap your mind around accepting the fact that you could become comfortable with attention, and that it isn’t such a burden for you, I hope that you can experience the upside receiving positive attention can bestow upon you. One of these benefits is increasing your self-confidence level, and who doesn’t want that level to be trending upwards?
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