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The Gift of Attention

According to a segment on the Today Show on NBC this morning, a new study indicates men can give only six minutes of attention to their spouse before they wander off. I am absolutely shocked by these findings. Where did they find men who can sit still for six minutes to listen to their spouse?!

Perhaps the most shocking news is someone thought they needed to conduct a survey to determine that men have a short attention span. Didn’t we all know that before the survey? In fact, it seems to be quite common for people to joke about the lack of focus of most men. No real news here.

However, maybe there is something we can learn from this study. For me, it served as a reminder of the importance of refocusing my attention on what my wife has to share. It reminded me that perhaps the best present I can give her is to be present. But lack of attention is not exclusive to men.

Technology has caused us all to lose attention quickly. Perhaps one of the greatest gifts we can give someone is our attention. It is an abundant resource available to each one of us … and it’s free.

So men (and women), I challenge you to give the gift of attention to your spouse or significant other. Put down your cell phone. Spend time listening intently to your children. Look someone in the eye. Take some time and experience life with the person in front of you instead of someone on the other end of a computer or phone. It may be the best gift you’ll give all year!

Clint Swindall

© Clint Swindall — Clint is the president & CEO of Verbalocity, Inc., a personal development company with a focus on leadership enhancement. For information about how he can help your organization, please visit

, or contact him directly at

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