This week on Mikes on Mics, Schechter and I welcomed guest Shawn Blanc to the show. The topic was focus, and it really got me to thinking about a few things (which is funny, considering that Shawn said that a lot of his ideas for his posts come from his thoughts on his members-only “near daily” podcast Shawn Today).
The main thing that came to mind was my own relationship with focus. Oddly enough, I find that I need to have a few things on my radar in order to focus better.
Why is that? I am not entirely sure. Maybe it’s because I need to be able have something to move to in case I get bored with one particular thing I’m focusing on. Maybe it’s because I don’t want to be a “one trick pony” and need to spread my wings a bit in order to really fly.
Or maybe it’s because I like to explore things. Not only the things I know I can do well, but the things I know I want to do well…or better.
I’ve taken up archery as of late. The way the class works is that we have three arrows to shoot each turn, and then we have to wait until everyone is done so we can go and retrieve our arrows. I strive to hit the bullseye every time. My technique is getting better, so I’m getting closer every time to doing that. But I’m using the same arrows and hitting the same target every time. It’s like I’m in the same situation every time I shoot. And that’s fine as I learn…but it won’t be fine for the long run.
Once my technique gets to a point where it allows me to take it to new targets and use new arrows, then I’ll explore those options. Why? Because I can…and I should.
My focus will still be on hitting the bullseye every single time, but it won’t be the same every single time because the environment and conditions are different. That’s because I’ll make the decision to make them different. And doing that will keep me interested in getting better at archery.
I never want to only have one thing on my plate. I also never want to try to work on all of my plates at once. I want to be able to focus on what I want and when I want, because that keeps me moving forward. I may not hit the target every single time, but at least it’s a different target I’m shooting at.
Figure out what you want to focus on, and do that. But don’t pick only one thing or you’ll only expand in one dimension. To bring archery back into the equation, choose your bow and make it yours. Add some arrows to your quiver, and make them yours. Then go out and hunt for targets and take what’s already yours — the bow and arrows — and use them to help you hit those targets as best as you can.
That’s how you can keep focus on one thing — and many things — all at the same time. It’s also how you make sure you have the arsenal you need to move forward.
Photo credit: zsbenko via SXC.HU
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