Getting attention from people is a powerful feeling. We all crave for it from time to time. But what does this attention do to us? American actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt speaks about this feeling in this Ted talk of his, wherein he says that more than getting attention, he enjoys the process of paying attention. “When I am acting, I get so focused that I am only paying attention to one thing… Something happens to me, I can’t even help it. My attention narrows. And everything else in the world — anything else that might be bothering me or might grab my attention — it all goes away, and I am just there. And that feeling, that is what I love. That, to me, is creativity,” he says.
Gordon-Levitt goes on to say that new technology has allowed people to experience this powerful feeling of getting attention. “I do think there’s an unintended consequence for anybody on the planet with an urge to be creative… I think that our creativity is becoming more and more of a means to and end. And that end is to get attention. And so I feel compelled to speak up, because in my experience, the more I go after that powerful feeling of paying attention, the happier I am. But the more I go after the powerful feeling of getting attention, the unhappier I am,” he says.
The 500 Days of Summer actor then goes on to share his experiences in life, from the time he began to act. How he had craved for attention, and how after a point he became hesitant. He says that social media, and the need to seek validation from fans and followers makes him a hypocrite, and that he realises it. “(Social media) trains you to want that attention, to crave it, to feel stressed out when you are not getting enough of it,” he says.
If we could just stop competing for attention, then the internet becomes a great place to find collaborators. And once I am collaborating with other people, that makes it so much easier for me to find that flow, because we are all just paying attention to the one thing that we are making together. And I feel like I am part of something larger than myself…” he says in conclusion.
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