Pay attention to what you pay attention to

Mickey Mellen
2 min readJun 22, 2024

Attention is likely the greatest asset in the world. If you want to sell products, sell ads, lead an organization, or lead a movement, you need people to pay attention to you. There are ways to do it well, and there are ways to do it unethically, but this post is more about watching our own attention to see where it goes.

Adam Grant was recently chatting with John Green on his podcast, and John shared some great insights he had picked up when it comes to attention. He said:

I reread the work of my friend Amy Krouse Rosenthal, who had died a few months earlier, and I read this moment where she says “pay attention to what you pay attention to if you want to know what to do you with your life”. And I realized that I had not been paying attention to what I was paying attention to.

I was kind of letting the information flow happen very passively in my life, and I wasn’t paying that kind of careful sustained attention that really for me is the way toward hope and wonder and joy.

There are a few great reasons to pay attention to what you’re paying attention to. It can be huge reasons, like John’s thoughts on “the way toward hope and wonder and joy”, or it can be the more transactional ideal of intentionally selling your attention for things that you want to see succeed.

Either way, you can’t do a very good job of understanding your attention if you don’t pay attention to it first.

Originally published at on June 22, 2024.



Mickey Mellen

I’m a cofounder of @GreenMellen, and I’m into WordPress, blogging and seo. Love my two girls, gadgets, Google Earth, and I try to run when I can.