The Joke’s on You

There are all kinds of coaches, such as life coaches, personal coaches, and executive coaches. I consider myself an attention coach, and my number one goal is to help individuals and businesses pay attention to the right thing…. because if you’re paying attention to the wrong thing, you’re likely paying attention to, or looking for, the wrong solution.

Becoming an attention coach has been an evolution for me because it took time for me to unlearn what I had been paying attention to for many years. Once I started to turn the corner and began to pay attention to attention, it took about half a second to realize you can’t tell anyone they are paying attention to the wrong thing because what they are paying attention to is based on their beliefs.

Someone can’t tell you what to believe because you have to formulate it for yourself first. Think I’m wrong? Republicans have been telling Democrats, and vice versa, that they are paying attention to the wrong things for as long as anyone can remember. Why don’t people change what they are paying attention to? Because they resist changing their beliefs.

To illustrate my point, let’s explore this point from the opposite perspective! Let’s look at it as if you are paying attention to the right thing and others aren’t. Everyone likes a good joke, right? Have you ever noticed the role attention plays in most jokes? Basically, jokes poke fun at those paying attention to the wrong thing. Let’s look at a few. Note, to be politically correct, I have left blank spaces. You can fill them in with whomever you want to be the brunt of the joke (e.g., Florida Gators, blondes, etc.).

  • Two _____(s) living in Oklahoma were sitting on a bench talking, and one _____ says to the other, “Which do you think is farther away, Florida or the moon?”

The other _____ turns and says, “Helloooooooooo, can you see Florida?”

  • There’s this _____ out for a walk.  He/She comes to a river and sees another_____ on the opposite bank.  “Yoo-hoo!” he/she shouts, “How can I get to the other side?”

The second _____ looks up the river, then down the river and shouts back, “You ARE on the other side.

  • A Russian, an American, and a _____ were talking one day.  The Russian said, “We were the first in space!”

The American said, “We were the first on the moon!”

The _____ said, “So what? We’re going to be the first on the sun!”

The Russian and the American looked at each other and shook their heads. “You can’t land on the sun, you idiot! You’ll burn up!” said the Russian.

To which the _____ replied, “We’re not stupid, you know. We’re going at night!”

  • A _____ was playing Trivial Pursuit® one night. It was her/his turn. He/She rolled the dice and landed on Science & Nature. The question was, “If you are in a vacuum and someone calls your name, can you hear it?”

He/she thought for a moment and then asked, “Is it on or off?”

Did you notice the role attention played in each joke? Notice how the joke was on the person (i.e., the one represented by the “_____”) who doesn’t seem to be paying attention to the right thing but believes he/she is?

This article is not intended to imply that those who come to coaching are a joke, but rather to illustrate that jokes are evidence of the importance of the role attention plays in outcomes and applied solutions. As an attention coach, I don’t change anybody or anything. Successes are based on changing what is being paid attention to. Thus, the metaphorical moral of this article is this: When you are stuck, it might mean the joke is on you. After all, if you’re paying attention to the wrong thing, you’re going to get the wrong solution!

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