Dance with Attention
My attention skill in elementary school was quite poor and I jumped around between too many extracurricular activities: soccer, handball, track, gymnastics, music band, calligraphy, Taekwondo, boy scouts, classic reading group, student association to name a few. I was good at none but martial arts. Growing up in Korea, my parents told me I was too busy doing too many things but one: studying.
The problem was that I wasn’t interested in one thing but in everything. Many things I see catch my attention with equal importance and I can’t help but notice. Distracted.
In 8th grade, my brother once locked me in the family storage room all day to get me study. I was mad initially, but soon my mind drifted to something else. Opening the dozen boxes stacked up in the closet, I found a Korean translated novel called “Robinson Crusoe.” It fascinated me. I ended up reading it cover to cover sitting in one spot.
I have very intense concentration on what I find fascinating. There is an inherent pleasure in doing what genuinely captivates my curiosity.
Daily routines on the other hand bore me. I have difficulty in repetition. My mind wanders off unrestrictedly looking for something new, an uncharted path, which can have my complete attention. Until then, the wandering continues.
I have an attention-deficit for uninteresting targets, but attention-abundance for captivating internally rewarding experiences. I call this AAST: attention abundant superactivity traits.
Wandering and super concentration may not be normal, even jeopardizing keeping a job, but it can be put to good use if you understand the nature of it.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is biological. Fixing it through behavioral approach may in fact cause more harm than benefit. The two extreme natures of the mind need to be understood and redirected for the purpose of each individual’s life. If not, the person suffers. Unproductivity results. Time wasted.
When I am distracted, I know I haven’t found what fascinates me. I keep looking. Bored, I bring my attention to a thing or project which I am deeply captivated by. With something I deeply care about, I can spend my entire life in it. Even time itself stops. I become my work.
I used to fear my wandering attention because of other’s criticism. But no longer I care much about letting my mind wander because it always come back to me eventually, back to something I can put my heart completely into and discover what I have never seen.