Desire narrows.

Last week I felt an air of foreboding.
Nothing serious.
Unless you’re hoping to get people’s attention.
I received seven unsolicited business books.
Four in the mail and three electronic versions.
The authors all desire my attention, and yours.
And in the past I would have happily read them.
And provided a review and an endorsement.
First, I love to help people.
And second, I used to love business books.
I’ve read about one a week for the past 30 years.
But my perceptual field has exploded with options.
Books, blogs, newsletters, magazines, videos, podcasts, hangouts.
Yes, my awareness has broadened.
But my attention has narrowed.
It had too.
I simply don’t have the available bandwidth.
So I no longer read “business” books.
I only read books that interest me.
Ones driven by my immediate and prevailing desires.
Desires that have narrowed.
They’ve narrowed my interests and narrowed my choices.
This is happening to everyone in every domain as options continue to proliferate.
Fragmentation, nichification, whatever you want to call it.
If you want to be chosen, awareness is paramount.
But it’s a costly diversion without attention.
Attention is what focuses awareness.
It’s a beacon of light that’s directed by desire.
And held steady by interest.
In an age of abundance, desire narrows.
Appeal to it relentlessly.
Or its probing light may edge you out.
And leave you in the darkness of irrelevance.

Tom Asacker