“Court attention at all costs. Everything is judged by its appearance; what is unseen counts for nothing. Never let yourself get lost in the crowd, then, or buried in oblivion. Stand out.” -Robert Greene
I once had an opportunity to give a talk to a group of people. I was the second speaker so I sat and listened as the first speaker delivered his material. After his awesome delivery, the audience applauded very loudly as he was making his way out. Now, it’s my turn to deliver.
For close to thirty minutes that I stood in front of them, nobody cared. I thought I had a wonderful message for theses guys. A message I’ve spent a lot of sleepless night putting it together for them. But, they didn’t care. I couldn’t wait to finish my speech and leave the stage. All I needed was a little bit of their attention to what I was saying. But no one cared. Nobody listened. And when I had to leave the stage, nobody applauded. Not as if I even expected it.
I understood attention differently from that day; One, it feels good to have the attention of others on you. Two, it’s not actually bad to seek to be noticed.
A lady once told me, “people who criticize you and call you attention seeker are usually envious. Because you are doing what they want to do but are scared to do.” I thought she was wrong. I was one of the persons who called her attention seeker. She was always the last person to walk into the classroom. Sometimes the lecturer had to pause for her to settle before he can continue.
That was really annoying. I asked her, “Can’t you for once come to class early?” She said, “If I can’t be the first to be here, I should be the last to be here. Anything in between is not worth it. Those who get here first are remembered, those who get here last are never forgotten.”
She was right. Every lecturer knew her name. Nobody knew me. When she wasn’t in class, everybody wondered where she could be.
Marianne Williamson said, “There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.” We usually shrink and stay out of view because we are scared we will be judged. The right kind of attention is good no matter what others say. Good things happen to people who are not scared to stay afloat. Be seen to be known.
Cinderella was miserable until she made herself available to be seen. The prince went looking for her with her shoe only when he had had the opportunity to see her at first. Nobody looks for the one he hasn’t seen before. Be seen to get the attention.
How do you do that?
a) Speak Up
It’s good to listen. When you listen you learn. You can’t always be the one who listens. When the time is right and your opinion can help solve a problem, don ’t be afraid to speak up. Speak your truth carefully and intelligently and they’ll remember your name. Eyes are always on the speaker, not on the listener.
b) Don’t just fit in
Fitting in is the death of creativity. When you strive to fit into the status quo, whatever is born in you dies. Dare to be different. Dare to challenge what is already in existence. Question everything and don’t be afraid to do things your way. People who changed the world are those who did things their way and amazingly, they are the people that got the attention of the world.
c) Don’t hide to be humble
We make a lot of fuss about being humble. We are made to believe people who are humble always listen to authority and obey instructions without any challenge. Such definition of “being humble” does nothing to us but keep us in shades. Being humble isn’t about hiding so people won’t have anything wrong to say about you. Hiding is death. Dead people are buried. Don’t be buried while you are alive. Stay out and be seen.
d) Out-shine others
It isn’t arrogance to prove you can do something better than others. It’s arrogance when you think you are indispensable because of your talent. If you can do something well, then do it and get the attention. It’s only the attention that can get you your first customer. Who patronizes what is not known? Life is not a competition as in who gets there first. But it’s a competition for survival. If I sell B and everyone buys A, it means death to me. That’s the reason I have to outshine A so I get the attention.
In the end, people who get the attention are the most powerful. Shatta Wale is very influential in the Ghanian music industry because he courts attention. Don’t despise attention. In 48 Laws of Power, Robert Greene advises; “Be conspicuous, at all cost. Make yourself a magnet of attention by appearing larger, more colorful, more mysterious than the bland and timid masses.” For it is “Better to be slandered and attacked than ignored.”
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