The gift of attention and the question I love to ask

I’m curious. By nature. I remember being a kid and browsing encyclopedias or other educational books at home: nature, history, geography, the human body, even Webster’s English dictionary. The paper sort, of course, as the Internet was still an infant.

I asked a lot of questions, especially to adults. And I loved storytelling! One of my primary school teachers excelled at this as she always staged this fantastic mise-en-scène to tell us the same tale (the one we always wanted to hear).

I always felt rather at ease speaking to strangers so it was natural to engage into a conversation that would allow me to know them better: “What do you do/study? Where are you from? What kind of music/sports/activity do you like?”

Growing up I’ve started to really enjoy a good “serious” conversation: you know, the ones about the meaning of life, love, the role of women in society & business, the challenges & benefits of modern life, but most of all about the fears and dreams others (or I) hold.

I still carry this combination of disposition (to be curious) and satisfaction (of listening to the stories others tell) which is why I tend to ask many questions when meeting someone for the first time.

But I’ll let you in on a little secret: there’s one question I love to ask nowadays: “To whom do you have lots of time for?” Why? Because I’m interested in finding out to whom the smart people I meet devote the gift of their attention in a time when our attention is one of the most precious gifts we can give.

Who are the authors/thinkers/writers/creators that grasp your attention? Who are the persons that inspire or interest you so much that when they write a new tweet, blog post, paper or book (or play or song or whatever they do) you cannot wait to check it out? Feel free to share your answer via a comment… or save it to when we meet 🙂

PS – among others, I have lots of time for JP Rangaswami: I love his writing and the stories he tells. You can find him on Twitter as @jobsworth and go check is blog at


4 thoughts on “The gift of attention and the question I love to ask

  1. Nice post, Ana, and a great question! While reading your post I thought: people who are like yourself, those are people I pay attention to and like to listen to. Those are the people who’s blogs I like to read. There are people who’s blog I read and tweets I follow, who share fascinating stuff. But when they never comment on my questions/comments, I start to find them less interesting. I pay less attention to them. Even though I know they might not have time to answer me or even thank me for my comment.
    Does that make sense?

    • It does Samuel. I love as well to read Blos and Tweets from interesting peole (incl. Ana + you). They often take me on a journey where I find more interesting stuff or people. But you are right. While “travelling” I often forget to leave a message showing my interest in what I read. Will do more often in the future and start now.

  2. Thank you all for commenting!
    @Samuel, I see your point, yes. I guess at times (and judging from my own experience) we lack the time or mental stamina to comment on others’ observations or posts. And sometimes tech does not help as it is a pain to comment on some platforms! At the same time, could it be we’re losing some digital etiquette (thanking or other any way of showing your appreciation for people taking their time to comment or reply)? Maybe…

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