I’ve learned many wonderful gems in my latest major project of learning how to learn. Useful concepts such as leveraging focused and diffused states, altering states to access flow, changing behavioral loops, and going towards the resistance. Useful techniques such as Pomodoro, spaced repetitions, and speed reading. But all the concepts and techniques are rendered useless without one thing. The one key that unlocks the power of all learning tools is attention.
Attention requires presence, discipline, and observation. Attention is not easy in a modern culture that reveres hacks and is addicted to distraction. Harnessing attention is a skill with a short shelf life. It must be sharpened consistently or it dulls completely. At its most potent, it cuts through anything with precision, purpose and power. At its most dull, it requires 10x the effort to accomplish the same outcome.
Paying great attention to anything is an expression of self-confidence that there is no greater use of time and resource than this investment in whatever is in front of you. If your attention is cheap, then consider the value of what you’re spending your time on.