Definitions: (1) a person who hears what is said with careful interest; a good listener; (2) characterized by thoughtful regard or focus; mindful; observant; (3) heedful of the comfort of others; courteous; polite
Synonyms: intent, watchful
Arrectis auribus (Latin): “with ears pricked up”
Where attention goes, energy flows. — James Redfield (1950 – ) American Author
Quote: We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak. — Epictetus (55-135) Greek Stoic Philosopher
Admonition: To “pay attention” often means to listen. If we are concerned with only those things which we want to hear, or the things we want to respond to from our point of view, then we are not giving the speaker the full measure of our attention.
Exercise: How good is your attention span? How long can you stare at an inanimate object? What does your mind do while you are looking at it? Do you think of its various aspects: size, shape, color, texture, taste, memory of use?
On the other hand, how long can you be interested in an animate scene? Witness how long you can sit in front of an electronic screen. The degree to which you are absorbed in the action has a lot to do with your interest in the subject, the characters, and your curiosity of the outcome. Advertisers prepare, with a great deal of effort, their commercials to take advantage of the attentiveness of the paying public.
Are you motivated to keep your focus on what you need to? Is the object of your attention stimulating? Are you hungry, thirsty, or sleepy? Are you healthy? Are you in a competitive mode? All of these will affect your ability to be attentive.