Hacking Attention: Recultivating Lost Awe


In August of last year, I moved into a house with one of the most beautiful views of the mountains surrounding the Vancouver area (see picture above). Even the picture pales in comparison to the view we have. The first few weeks we lived here, I was always in awe of the sheer beauty that a semi-clear sky and the mountains could give. We lived in paradise, and time felt as if it stood still for the two weeks I lived here before university began. As time went on though, the mountains, while still beautiful, lost their ability to throw me into awe just by their presence. I was no longer shocked about how the world was so beautiful, and the nature that the mountains were formed through. While I was still cognitively aware that the mountains were huge, and I was tiny in contrast, I was left with a feeling of “so-what?”

Jason Silva has a great solution to this in his video on experience design. Experience design is the idea that we can “hack” experience in order to create the person we want to be. Once we can hack our lived experiences, we can choose how we want to live, and embrace The only way to do that though is to hack attention. Hacking attention requires us to live in the perpetual now, to be aware of everything in a single moment. It’s that feeling you get when you close your eyes, take a deep breath and focus on the world around you. Hacking attention is the ground that recultivating lost wonder is built on. When I change my paradigm to put myself back in that first moment, I can recreate that feeling of wonder and that profoundly significant feeling of insignificance, and mire in the beauty of the world. To hack attention, we are required to embrace everything simultaneously.


No awe is ever truly lost, only misplaced.


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