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Beware of the chronic attention getter.

Beware of the chronic attention getter.

Most people are not aware of how important it is to think about how to get noticed at just the right times, when we most want to be heard. In a world where there is so much noise, interruption and stimulus, it’s even more important to spend our attention-getting energy wisely. If we over-do it we can wear others out and all they will want to do is get away from us. If we truly want to be heard at the right times, it is important to wait, wait, wait, listen, listen, listen and then at the right moment use an extreme voice or position to get all eyes on us when we have something meaningful to share.

Frequency is the problem.

There are some important reasons behind this careful use of extremes to get others to listen when it’s most important. If we are constantly extreme or unpredictable in the way we show up with others we will be triggering their limbic system in the brain in ways that overload their fight, flight, freeze or deflect stress reactions. In other words, if our unpredictability is predictable, their brain will remember it and as soon as we walk in the room, they will feel and react in a natural stress reaction almost immediately before we speak one word. Just our presence will be stimulus enough. If this goes on over time, it can even lead to a chronic reaction that releases cortisol in everyone involved. And while cortisol is necessary in urgent situations, it is quite unpleasant if it’s a chronic condition. Similar to PTSD, our bodies grow weary and rigid instead of flexible and agile like they are supposed to be when healthy. The chronic stress reaction also serves to reduce the blood flow to the all-important rational and creative parts of the brain due to hogging of flow to the limbic system which is geared-up to manage the emergency (which isn’t really a true emergency). This renders everyone less intelligent in meaningful ways and they will start to avoid you as a result.

Spend your attention-getting extremes wisely.

The short of it is this. Lay low, be patient, listen and teach others that you can be reliable, collaborative, genuine and likable most of the time and their brain will learn to love being around you. The resonance you create will help them stay engaged with you even when you surprise them with an attention-getting moment. Instead of a stress reaction, you will get their focused attention. They will give you their undivided attention because most of the time they know you are good for them. Better yet, their brain will tell them everything is OK and you are someone they want to learn from.