Mediocrity is the result of a chronic state of poor attention. If you’re able to observe your thoughts, you’ll find that they slip in and out simply by themselves. The state that we are in is one where we take on ownership of every thought and believe it to be an element of our identity. That is, if it has floated up to our attention then we are responsible for it. The reality is that these thoughts are the by-products or excretion of all of the various impressions we constantly ingest throughout the events of the day. We are quite literally organic conveyer belts that receive and send messages which are altogether separate from our personal identity.
The quality of these thoughts and how they appear by form of their packaging and inner content is indicative of the quality of the impressions we receive as we walk and talk from place to place. Consider the man who works throughout the day staring at a computer and then slumps over the couch to watch television before he collapses on his bed. This habitual regime provides the man-machine with a barren quality of stimuli from which to live off. The emotions of such a creature will be dulled down to a state of perpetual boredom, and it these very emotions which provide his thoughts with the juice that enliven his being.
The quality of our crafts in life are dependent on the soundness of our character, and the soundness of our character is dependent on how well we digest the impressions we receive. There are about 8-16 hours of the day in which time ticks, and our state of being defines how well we lived during that day. We can act as mechanical drones and allow our identity to be defined according to the constant churn of associations which come from a poor digestion system, or we can seize that space to think actively and pay attention to what we are allowing ourselves to take in. It is this active approach which supplants the passive one and allows us to not only improve the quality of our associations, but also create a space between us and them.
The space of time is the prize to be had. Its territory, without your knowing, has been demarcated with boundaries and borders just like the land in our outer world has. It is a mystery as of now why it was designed in such a way, or if it is simply an error of society for conditioning us in such a way, but the opportunity is in realizing that unlike our stubbornness to dissolve borders in the outer world, we can seize our inner land at will, if even for a second or two. The persistence of such an endeavor is how the results are reaped but even the smallest efforts ought to improve the quality of our work by some degree. Namely, the vividness of our memory, the richness of our emotions and the roundness of our actions.
We’re talking about a full-bodied attention; one which strikes boredom out from under our feet. The thoughts that constantly appear in the form of associations pull us from one direction to the next simply because they are fragmented, alien to each other, and that we accept them as us. We begin one effort, to write a piece of poetry for example, and in a matter of a few minutes we have been visited by a host of thoughts alien to the task at hand. Our attention isn’t full-bodied because our work is in constant threat of being rejected in favour of some other activity. And once we move on the next, the same corruption occurs and not only do we do the job poorly, but we likely leave most or all of them half-steeped and incomplete.