My middle school gym teacher Mr. T (no, not the jewelry man) was well known for always reminding us to “Focus on the triangle”. He was also known for having weekly calls with Elvis (whom he believed was still alive), but that’s another story….. Now you’d normally hear Mr. T shout this mantra while holding up his hands in the shape of a triangle, usually prompted by someone in the class “acting a fool” (another thing T would say).
This focusing on the triangle came to mind as I thought over maintaining a singular focus on something. I absolutely struggle with this. My mind constantly wants to multi-task, all while knowing full well that when I (or most anyone for that matter) attempts to multi-task, we just do a bunch of things simultaneously……poorly. Time after time, I’ll be doing one thing and within 30 seconds seemingly veer off onto something else.
I understand in this current day, we’ve got a bombardment of attention grabbing distractions slamming us with a look at me\think about this\dream about that. I like to think that I’ve got a relative hold on it, but I guess the proof is usually in the pudding. Heck, even typing this right now, I’ve got a little bowl of oatmeal I’m eating in front of me, and a handful of various browser tabs looming overhead, all while a second monitor has 18 things waiting for me to interact with or deal with. I’m sure this can’t be good, and I bet if I went back and re-read my earlier postings, I’d likely see some of the disjointed feeling in the writing, as if its multiple similar thoughts mashed together in hopes of creating a cohesive thought.
This inability to focus is put under a spotlight when interacting with my daughter. If you’re not 100% engrossed in what she’s doing, you may not realize it, but she will. Unlike many adults, who may just ignore you for being inattentive, she’ll call you on it. Immediately. Now, she may only be capable of currently staying focused on one thing for a handful of minutes, but its a quick reminder to stay focused and to stay engrossed in EXACTLY what you’re doing.
Now I’ve got myself thinking again on how this laser sharp focus should really play into all of my life. Not only are their distractions from getting immediate work (or play) distracted (see earlier post about riding with music playing), but also distractions from achieving set personal goals. I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve stopped short on a long term goal in favor of some short term pay off, which just delays the long term goal, or even kills is all together.
Knowing how T was, I don’t think he was trying to go far too deep into the metaphysics of “Focus on the triangle”, but something simpler. Just focus on the immediate task at hand. Not only ignore the distractions, but also do not BE the distraction. If you’re letting something distract you from a long term goal, squash it. If you’re hindering someone or something from achieving their goal, and get out of the way. I recall someone else saying we’re not (humans) the best at maintaining long term\lofty goals. So maybe part of those long term achievements, it just requires a pile of short term ones, which are all stepping stones to reaching the long term goal. And unlike the showtime rotisserie, these are things you shouldn’t set and forget.
With that, I am reminded that I should go ahead and review\revise some goals I’ve written down. Especially ones I’ve strayed from by not keeping focused on the triangle.