Guard your Attention with your Life

Attention. I walk or run my dog most mornings. In fact, since I became a dog owner a decade ago, I’ve probably walked or run over 1,800 miles. That’s walking from my home in Austin, Texas all the way to New York City. Talk about culture shock!!

  • 7 days a week
  • .5 mile a day
  • 365 days/year x .50 mile/day = 182.5 miles/year
  • 5 miles/year x 10 years = 1,825 miles since I became a happy dog owner

If I keep this up (and I hope to…), I’ll run all the way to London!!

Lately, I’ve noticed an interesting difference between walking and running my dog. When I walk my dog, a lovable, yet sometimes tense and anxious Labrador, she gets much more tired than when I run her along the same path.


Isn’t running supposed to be more exhausting and physically taxing than walking? How could my dog be exerting more energy on a walk versus a run?

The answer: attention.

Where is your attention leading you today?

When I run our dog, it’s usually early in the AM. We don’t see too many people or dogs. Only the occasional skunk, raccoon or coyote. In the afternoons, when walks happen for our precious pooch and me, we always see dogs of all shapes, sizes and persuasions being walked or run by their owners. After the run is complete, she looks at me as if to say, “That’s it. Aren’t we going longer?”

Our dog’s attention is on alert during the walks. Always scanning and smelling her surroundings for a friend or foe. Despite her lack of movement on a walk, her mind is alert, focusing on dogs, people, and the environment. At the end of a walk, she plops down on the cool kitchen tile, spent after investigating the neighborhood for anything worth smelling. I look at her and say, “How could you be that tired after a short walk?”

On a run, my dog’s not paying attention. When we walk, she is locked into every crack in the sidewalk.

Are you paying attention?

Attention is a hot topic in business circles and it should be. There’s so much to distract our attention from centering us on the things and activities that add value.

Think of the days when you were at your best? Most likely, you’ve drove home from work mentally and physically exhausted from all the solid work you produced. You were the master of your attention on these ‘top shelf’ days.

Compare that ‘satisfied’ feeling to the days when you reacted and task-switched more times than you could count. The day owned you rather than you owning the day. Take control of your days by taking ownership of your attention and look forward to that ‘exceptional’ sense of accomplishment as you drive home.

The best news of all? When you open your front door, your dog will be happy to see you and ready for her next stimulating walk.

Until next time,

Dan Naden

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1 thought on “Guard your Attention with your Life

  1. Hi Daniel, Great writing!! I always enjoy what you have to say. It’s fall up here & trees are georgous although they are starting to fall.I don’t want winter to come. Love, Helen

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