Attention Economy in Your Relationship
The peculiarities of the times we live in are numerous, to say the least. So many new opportunities, all coming with more than their fair share of equally novel challenges. Science, technology, globalization.
All advancing daily, both on the positive and the negative sides. If there’s one thing, though, that we of this generation have much more of than any other generation, it is the presence of numerous options. Oh, we have so many options.
But the problem is, they all try their possible best to be true to the formula above, and they succeed. Which is why even though we have numerous great options, they all also come with numerous great challenges—and this, in recent times, has brought what is called the rise of the attention economy.
Love in the time of the attention economy
Your relationship is affected by the greatest commodity right now.
What exactly is the attention economy, you ask? Well think of it this way: Economics itself is the study of scarcity, and how to derive the most utility from limited resources against a pool of unlimited/insatiable human wants and desires.
How are you trapped in the attention economy
In the case of the attention economy, the limited resource is your attention, whereas the unlimited/insatiable want is the numerous options available to you.
All these numerous options are working harder day by day to fight for and secure your attention for themselves. Social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram all want your attention. Your instant messengers want your attention, advertisers, malls, cinemas, your friends, everyone! They all want your attention.
Hell even we want your attention as you’re reading this right now. And guess what, they’re getting better and better at it. Not just to have it for a minute, but to secure it for as long as possible. It’s why there’s such a thing as “endless scrolls” and “tailored trends for you” and etc.
In fact, it’s safe to say, you see, that your attention is currently the most valuable commodity right now.
The attention economy and your relationship
Are you in danger? Attention has always been a valuable thing in relationships.
In fact, attention has always been a valuable thing in life, period. The only difference is, right now, due to the ever increasing, approaching-infinity, amount of options, its value has gone up a lot more than it was in the past.
You gotta ask yourself, then, just as you ask yourself when the price of necessary commodity skyrockets: how does this affect me and my family? How does this scarcity of attention affect my relationship? Does it even? Absolutely. It absolutely does.
Think back to the medieval times when all they had to do was watch Shakespeare, and watch gladiators kill themselves in big arenas, and the most important thing then was keeping your spouse off whore-houses, think how even then a lot of relationships collapse due to insufficient attention.
Now think of this particular moment, when spouses want even more attention than before, but instead of going out to big coliseums, there are gladiators right there in your house at the tip of your fingers, a million channels on television, friends seeking to gossip and show-off on Instagram, and of course, a thousand more whore-houses.
The burden of options sure, there are certain events in our lives that will always have our attention. Subsistence and survival are a must. There will always be work to do, children to tend to, worries here and there about them and other loved ones. It would be simpler, though, if this were all we had to worry about. But they’re not.
And now as though it wasn’t hard enough, to save our relationship and maintain that beautiful spark, we have to navigate mazes and mazes of attention-grabbing spectacles.
Dealing with the attention economy
Attention will always remain the most fundamental form of love.
You cannot aim to have, or preserve, or show affection without attention. But there is also good news to be found amidst the quandary of our torturous excess: which is the fact that attention as a commodity, being more valuable now due to its scarcity, can be used to our own advantage.
A profound moment of love and affection, of intimate connection, with your loved one right now will be greatly cherished and appreciated. It is no secret that your absence increases the value of your presence. So why not make time to create those valuable, tangible moments.
And seize that advantage, Lord knows there are enough disadvantages to go around already. The greatest disadvantage relationships don’t whine.
Especially if they’re built upon great understanding, as all great relationships should be. But even great relationships, ultimately, falter against attrition. And the others, oh do they whine! The television whines: “free entertainment for you”. Your phone whines: “see an adorable cat do a handstand”. Your friends whine: “have you seen that new place we gotta check it out.” But your spouse doesn’t, they just listen. And they miss you. And they keep missing you. Until they don’t.
How to survive the attention economy?
Wish it were easy, but it isn’t. But thankfully it is also not impossible. Listed below are some of the ways by which you can ensure that your relationship survives this dearth of attention and comes out unscathed.
As with everything, the first step to surviving the attention economy is being conscious of its facts. You must be willing to admit to yourself that you’re falling short.
You must be willing to admit to yourself the fact that there are mediums everywhere making sure you fall short. And then you must be conscious of it every time. Only then can you start making moves to ensure you start combating those shortcomings, brought about by your lack of attention.
One of the reasons our attentions are so valuable is because our time is limited. There are only so many hours in a day. Which is why first you have to decide what’s really important and worth it. And to anybody in a serious relationship, preserving their relationship is definitely high on that list.
So make up your mind to put that high on your list. So that you can move on to the next step.
3. Effective time management
This is the part where you actually have to manage your time to make sure you have enough of it for the things high on your priority list. One of the ways to achieve this is to literally time yourself.
Allocate a good amount of time to the more important things and cut the amount of time you spend on the lesser ones. Organize your schedule. Plan your activities. That really goes a long way.
4. Staying focused
Everything you’ve done so far will turn out to be nothing if you don’t remain focused. It’s hard. As I said, there are forces out there working on how to make sure you give them your time and attention.
But you have to resist. If your relationship is high on your mind, then you have to be willing to fight for it. And we all know that if you do succeed, the joy to be derived is a million times greater than you can get anywhere else, on the internet or on your television.
So there you have it. Our attention, more than anything, is needed now than ever. Our relationships suffer because of this, but ultimately it’s all in our hands.
Your relationship is worth fighting for and can bring you much happiness. You only have to wean out the unimportant stuff fighting for your attention. Hopefully that this little piece helps towards that end.
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