“Focus is the art of knowing what to ignore.”
Good morning, friends! Did your weekend rise to your expectations? Or did your expectations lower to your weekend? Food for thought. Anyway, let’s get to it!
One of the truly great challenges of our time, our very current time, is the problem of distraction. The culprit is technology, particularly mobile technology. Statistics on mobile phone usage are staggering. Otherwise well-adjusted people spend hours per day staring at apps on a phone. And I’m not talking about teenagers; I’m talking about professionals. Amazingly, the modern mobile phone system has become a part of our brain system, reaching the point of addiction equal to drugs and sugar, but in this case something not physically ingested. So, it is a simplistic thing to suggest that modern people have a challenge with focus. We most certainly do, even when our distraction is not a mobile phone, but nothing compares to it, either.
But let’s say that you do have the ability to focus, or at least an awareness that you need an ability to focus. Immediately you are thinking, “On what should I focus?” and that is completely the wrong approach. In a world full of distractions finding the needle in the haystack that deserves our attention is nearly impossible. A far more helpful approach is to consider the plethora of distractions not worthy of your attention.
Consider the question that is the bane of my marriage, perhaps yours, too: “What’s for supper?” I hate even hearing that question. Typically, in my relationship we can waste many minutes eliminating “not wants” in negative fashions before frustratingly landing on something agreeable. Neither of us easily sees the common denominator, but in any conversation I know easily what I don’t want. Were we to each offer our “don’t wants” with grace whatever options remain are in play. In other words, knowing what to ignore helps us focus. Sadly, it doesn’t happen all that often…
Yet, consider your life. Whether retired/working, single/married, young/old, or any other situation, you likely know in any moment what is not worth your focus. You are certainly aware of the distractions not worthy of your time. You can likely name the reasonable options that are not among the best. We can easily eliminate a lot of things to reveal the few possibilities worthy of our attention. Is it worth debating between numbers one, two and three? Likely not; what matters is not surrendering numbers one, two and three to numbers ten, eleven and twelve.
One last consideration. Imagine you owned a clown outfit and kept it in your everyday closet. Most days you would go to your closet, look at the clown outfit and say, “Not today. No way. I have better things to wear.” There may be a day and time for the clown outfit, but not most days. Compare that to your time and attention. How much of your time, attention and focus do you give to the clown outfits of distraction and low priorities? How much greater would be your success if your time allocation looked it’s best every day? Mine could stand an upgrade. How about yours? Ignore the things that should be ignored, focus on the best of things, and enjoy the upgrade in your results. And have a great week!