There were two outs and runners were on second and third. Last inning, we’re up by 10+ runs. Our pitcher was having problems throwing strikes and the other team had already gotten a few runs across.
Nobody was nervous yet (we had a really big lead and it was the final inning, two outs) but there was a feeling that we should just close this out before it gets hairy.
I’m the shortstop and I notice the runner on second isn’t really paying attention. So I start creeping towards second base. The pitcher sees me and whips around, firing the ball right at the base. The runner sees it, but it’s too late—he gets picked off for the third out.
Pay Attention at All Times
It’s something so simple, and yet so many of us don’t do it. We distract ourselves with constantly checking our email (I’m guilty of it too), thinking about other things, or just plain spacing out.
It can have really serious repercussions at work, but paying attention is also becoming a lost art in everyday settings like a simple conversation with another person.
Paying Attention at Work
Imagine you’re in a meeting with a bunch of other people and you know this particular subject has very little to do with you—so you’re sitting there staring out the window trying to figure out if you have any Hot Pockets left in the freezer at home and whether or not the Bulls should play Kyle Korver tonight against the Heat.
“What’s your opinion on this, Smith?”
You guessed it: you’re Smith.
What do you do? What do you say? The right answer is probably: “I’m sorry, could you repeat that?”
Either way, it’s pretty obvious you weren’t paying attention and it’s going to reflect poorly on you. Even worse, you might miss something that does have to do with a project you’re involved in and that could wind up being a disaster.
Paying Attention is Easy
The guy that got picked off of second base should’ve been paying attention, but he wasn’t. When you’re at work, pay attention. When someone is talking to you, pay attention.
It’s very easy to do because it’s something you can control.
There are so many other variables out there that you can’t control, that it doesn’t make sense to neglect something so basic and easy to do. You hear it in baseball all the time: speed never slumps. Paying attention doesn’t have to either.
You can’t control what projects are assigned to you or the quarterly revenue your company makes or any of those things—but you can pay attention.
Right now I’m looking out the window and the trees are swaying like crazy, the sky is cement grey, and the wind is howling.
Can I control the weather? Of course not.
But I can at least bring an umbrella to weather the storm because I’m paying attention to what’s going on out there.
Image by TimothyJ