Involuntary Attention habits cause the bearer to suffer the symptoms of what's been called, for centuries, "The Monkey Mind," characterized by chaotic, undisciplined thought and emotional patterns as well as persistent impractical impulses and the challenges that come along with unregulated Attention.
Vernon Howard was a writer of deep philosophy who knew a thing or two about mastering attention. Over the course of his career, he used some examples that I've read which clearly illustrate how involuntary attention impacts your mind. Here they are, paraphrased for training purposes...
The Wild Horses
Problem: Uncontrolled thought is like a team of wild horses all harnessed together and yanking a wagon of valuable cargo back and forth as each steed fights madly to go in its own direction in complete disregard for the others.
Solution: You take the reins. As the wagoneer, it is your job was to manage the conveyance safely along an efficient path to your destination. Your answer to being pulled off course is to practice grabbing and holding the reins, and along with that, vigilantly moving along the correct path through any kind of territory.
The Bad Bus Drivers
Problem: An unmanaged mind switches thoughts and direction as though a person had visited a big city and taken the bus for a narrated tour around. Once in their seat, the rider notices another passenger get up from their seat and, grabbing the driver by the shoulders, tosses him from the operator's position and sits down to drive. The original driver stands up, brushes himself off and then takes a seat with the passengers. A few minutes later, a different rider reaches over and hurls the current one from the wheel and takes over. Our visitor watches in shock as this goes on during the entire trip, but understands the reason the bus can't seem to get where it is supposed to go.
Solution: You take the wheel. Your challenge and obligation is to practice taking and the wheel and holding it steady so that the trip is smoother, more enjoyable, and arrives at the correct destinations.
The Negligent Captain
Problem: A woman was very excited about her upcoming cruise, but when she got aboard the ship for the introductory guided tour, she noticed that there was no Captain on the bridge to greet the group; meanwhile, as the boat launched from the docks, someone not even in a staff uniform was at the helm of the ship, just whipping the wheel all over the place, causing the boat to sway this way and that. Worse, she saw a long line of other passengers standing nearby, jostling and wrestling with one another to get a turn steering the cruise liner. Every few moments a passenger would push the current helmsperson out of the way and commence to roughly turning the boat in whatever direction that person wanted. Suddenly, one of the crew turns to the woman and asks, "Oh, hi there, Captain - what are you doing standing around, out of uniform?"
Solution: You take helm. No passengers are authorized to man the steering because the ship belongs to you. Your responsibility is to practice taking the helm, turning the vessel back to course, and holding it course with alert vigilance.