Try to imagine running a marathon race looking backward the whole time. Every tree and pole ahead become a dangerous obstacle. There are other people ahead of you that you could trip over. You could get seriously hurt, yet people live their lives every day looking over their shoulders, at the past, the long ago victories and tragedies. This week, let’s take a closer look at how to master that elusive but necessary quality of life if we are ever to reach our goals: the art of focus.
Though it sounds simple enough, focusing is something many find to be an elusive attribute. You may have a goal, a vision, and a dream you want to see accomplished. Somehow it gets blurred and seems to get farther away each day. More immediate are the distractions all around you. Some are inevitable, the children, the job requirements or your spouse’s needs of attention. Others are self-induced. Those are the devious distractions that we can control and that cause our goals to go out of focus and fade. Consider how much time you spend watching television, tinkering on social media and video games. If we deliberately limit our time tinkering, we actually improve the quality of our lives and start doing what serves us, our families and community. It becomes a choice.
The other insidious distraction is floating around in our own minds. The past. Whether we think about the tragedies that we encountered and endured or the victories we remember fondly, we forget out futures by living in the past. I had a friend back in the States that was an amateur golden glove champion boxer at the age of nineteen. At forty-five he was still reliving his “glory days” to anyone who would stand still long enough to listen to his story. He hadn’t, however, accomplished one significant thing since.
Likewise, there are people whose tragic experiences terrify them from ever dreaming again. Whether to love again, launch a new business venture or travel, the past is an anchor to prevent their focus into the bright beautiful future. The ticking clock makes going forward inevitable, like a river that carries you downstream. Looking behind you instead of focusing on what is ahead of you will guarantee that you will capsize in that river and you will drown. Just because so many other people drown too should not make it a normalcy that is acceptable to you.
Here is a small secret you can use towards your success. Focusing on your goals and dreams has to be your absolute MUST. Most people do not have specific, well-defined goals. If you do not know what you are trying to achieve, clearly and passionately, your efforts to get there from here will be equally lukewarm. Get specific, as specific as the images of your past experiences. See the outcome. Envision the feeling of obtaining that goal. Did you know that your mind can not differentiate between what is real and imagined? You make your vision real when you focus on it, fill in the blanks, color in the rough outline, whatever you want it to be and dream big. Do not concern yourself about how it will happen. ‘How’ will come to you as soon as your ‘what’ is vividly clear. I promise you that right now.
To illustrate the point, I want to share this story. I was interviewed on a Sydney Australia radio program about six years ago where I was asked about Changes for New Hope and my plans for the future of the project. At the time, we had just two small groups of children numbering about twenty. Everyone who listened to the program laughed at my enormous plans and vision for the future of this project: Reaching thousands, addressing anemia and parasite issues, providing material support in remote areas that I had not even been to yet. Today that vision is a reality. Focus got us here from there. If you want to see the impossible accomplished, you have to attempt the impossible.
(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
We all have past reminisces, tragedies and victories, I have mine, you have yours too. The past is not where we are going. Focus on the future and dream it into existence. Let your words speak with a confidence and certainty of its inevitable arrival. Let the naysayers laugh. They are not part of your journey, if you arrive alone, that is just fine. Focus, my friends, is another quality that makes us fully alive. Remember as you arrive, to pull others up with you. We are one human tribe.
Until next week, live large my friends, live deliberately! ~~ Jim
Check out our progress at Changes for New Hope at www.changesfornewhope.org
Also, if you are in Huaraz, the National Institute of Culture is exhibiting our photo exhibition entitled; “Life from Around the World”. Stop by and enjoy the exhibition sharing artists from a dozen countries.