Attention, Interest, and Influence

Did you know there’s a connection between what interests you versus what captures your attention and whether or not you will become influenced by interest or influence via attention? I know it seems like a tongue twister but stay with me.

When you become interested in something it can lead to fulfillment and then, through review, to action. This is the cycle of the influenced. For example, you may see a new flavor of ice cream that you’ve never heard of and become interested in trying it. Maybe it’s got a cool name like Peppery Pink Pineapple Punch. So you buy it, eat it, and decide that in the future either you’ll order it again or you won’t. Your interest has informed your course of action.

Now let’s look at the cycle of the influencer. Attention has been drawn to a new flavor of ice cream. Peppery Pink Pineapple Punch doesn’t sound appealing and you have no interest in trying it. Note: you have attention to it, but no interest. If you had interest, you’d go through the previous scenario described. But since you have no interest, you engaged by not trying it. In fact, you instead order chocolate. How you engaged influenced your action. It was your attention that informed your course of action.

It is through this arc of influence that we see the difference in attention versus interest and how they impact action. So, how may we relate this to ADHD? Considering that interest often sustains someone with ADHD’s attention, individuals with ADHD may more easily fall into the cycle of the influenced.

So, how can someone with ADHD become empowered to break the cycle of the influenced and command their own attention to inform their actions? Mindfulness. Making conscious choices, conscious decisions, on how to engage with what they are interested in rather than try to immediately fulfill their curiosity. Without fulfillment there’s no review process. In this way, potential negative consequences are usurped without going through the trial and error phase.

How does this now look for someone with ADHD? Let’s say you go into the ice cream shop and become curious when you see Peppery Pink Pineapple Punch. You are interested in trying it. STOP. THINK. ASK. Mindfully engage in an internal dialogue that may sound something like this:


  • What if I don’t like it?
  • I know I like chocolate.
  • It’s so boring to always order chocolate.
  • What if it’s amazing and I love it?
  • I won’t know if I don’t try it!
  • Is there any way I can try it before committing to buy it?


Now, a new solution has presented itself! Your attention influenced your actions.

If you are hearing from others that you’re too easily swayed and too easily influenced, think about it. Are many of your decisions, based on your curiosity and interest, having you suffer consequences (due to impulsivity or lack of attention)? Then consider the arc of influence. You can mindfully influence your decisions rather than live mercilessly forever influenced by your interest.


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