I recently took the challenge of dragging my carcass through the Savage Race mud a few weeks ago and it reminded me how I’ve learned to “cross apply” (rhymes with ‘multiply’) different aspects of my life. Finding Focus
This obstacle course race was a good tune-up for American Ninja Warrior. Aside from having an immense amount of fun, I learned something. Actually, it really reminded of something.
Focus.
It’s easy to get caught up in the 7+ miles and 26 different obstacles you have to traverse, but if you don’t focus on the one at hand, if you don’t focus on one step at a time, you stumble.
Duh, we should all know that.
But taking the same focus, that same intensity elsewhere in our lives reminded me how I need to push the ‘outside’ away and focus on the item at hand. At the Savage Race, if you lose focus, you’ll probably splash into a cold mud puddle, quickly scraping to get yourself out.
When I’m writing, I need to be ‘inside’ the story. So focused that I don’t miss the special details that can make a scene memorable.
The acrid scent of burnt gun powder floating from the tip of the antagonist’s gun after he just shot a character I love.
The screeching, almost scream-like sound that pierced the air as the antagonist sped away in his throaty Mustang still colored with two enormous black racing stripes running from hood to bumper.
If I’m not focused, I don’t see, hear or touch these vibrant elements. And neither does your reader.
That’s not to say that the reader’s imagination won’t fill it in with his own details, but you should still control the high-level aspects of the scene.
And yet, we should learn to apply focus to all areas of our life.
At work, it’s easy to get distracted. Conversations, walk-by’s. You have 128 new emails in your inbox and an instant message blinking its way into your attention.
But stay focused. Finish one thing at a time.
Humans cannot multi-task. So don’t try.
In human terms, multi-tasking really means interrupting one task to start or do another. You’re really just bouncing around. Switching contexts. Because you switch contexts so easily, you think you’re multi-tasking. But you’re really not.
Want to test it?
Go ahead.
Put a pencil in each hand and write your name.
It won’t come out good.
But if you focus with one hand and do it to the best of your ability, you’d be surprised at how beautiful you can write. Michelangelo painted with one hand at a time and look where it got him.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s