# To control consciousness is to be able to focus attention at will

The information that enters our consciousness will either make us content or discontent. As we also have limits to our consciousness (The limits of consciousness), we need a gatekeeper to only allow good information to enter our consciousness if we want to be content. That gatekeeper is our attention. Attention determines whether a piece of information is something that we’d like to process, therefore we need to learn how to focus our attention at our will if we want to feel more content.

These idea don’t come without challenges. We grew up building Attentional habits which are hard to change, and our attention may be demanded by goals that are not ours.

# References

Mihaly, Flow (p. 31).

And it does not happen automatically: there is a disinfect process that makes such reactions possible, a process called attention. It is attention that selects the relevant bits of information from the potential million of bits available. It takes attention to retrieve the appropriate references from memory, to evaluate the event, and then choose the right thing to do. […] The mark of a person who is in control of consciousness is the ability to focus attention at will, to be oblivious to distractions, to concentrate for as long as it takes to achieve a goal, and not longer. And the person who can do this usually enjoys the normal course of everyday life.