March 8, 2024

Recalibrating Our Attention

Personal Agency

Lately, I’ve been reflecting more on Visa’s quote, “pay attention to what you want to see more of.”

Those words seem obvious at first, until you realize that very few of the things you’re paying attention to are what you really want to manifest. Instead, tech culture lives by the YC mantra: “build something people want.”

But can’t what you want to see more of also be what people want? I wasn’t sure how to articulate the conflict I was feeling until I read a Henrik Karlsson essay this morning where he says:

John Psmith phrases this more strongly: we should be suspicious about the things the voices in our heart tell us that we want, because what we want “might not really be what we want, but rather what something else wants through us.”

If we sat down and reflected on what we want in this world, we’d likely come to a fairly accurate answer. But in the day-to-day hustle of life, our core desires make way for the culture, people, and technologies that we surround ourselves with. Without realizing, we begin pay attention to what our environment wants us to pay attention to.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot in the context of memecoins. Sure, memecoins are generally harmless and interesting to think about. Some folks would even argue that they are community currencies unlocked by the power of blockchains and the web. But do they really matter? Is that really what I want to see more of? No. And yet, I find my attention warped by them on a daily basis.

I want to see more people writing, building, and cultivating community around tech and spirituality. I think creation is an act of getting in touch with your core values, and getting more people to create rather than passively consume is a forcing function for more intentional media and technology.

It takes regularly reminding myself with pieces like this to ensure that I’m staying on track.

We’ll get there.