Keep your attention on your present moment efforts. Forget the summit and focus on each step of your journey.
Image from Unsplash by Alessandro Erbetta
As kids on road trips, we kept asking our dad: Are we there yet? Most of our trips took less than two hours, but our “ants in our pants” impatience made them seem like eternity.
When our own children were young, Wendy and I lived in Michigan. Most of our road trips were ten to twelve hours, heading back east to visit family, and of course, our annual trip to the Pocono Mountains. With better car radios, cassette recorders, games, and interesting places to stop along the way, I don’t recall ever hearing those four little words.
How focused are you these days in reaching your personal and professional summits?
How would greater appreciation of the steps along the way make your journeys even more memorable and remarkable?
“If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?”
Image from Unsplash by Kenny Eliason
We are all works in progress if we choose to be.
From the day we are born, we have the capacity to take in all types of inputs and mix them with our previous experiences. This ongoing journey helps us become a better version of ourselves.
When it comes to our prized abilities and qualities, we all likely have some level of competency.
What qualities and personal characteristics do you value most?
How would you rate yourself in these areas?
Where can and will you choose to focus your attention and efforts today?
We can be telescopes or microscopes. We sharpen the mind through focused attention.
—Calm App Reflection
Image from Unsplash by Jeff Nissen
Compared to other creatures in the animal kingdom our natural abilities to perceive our world can appear less than remarkable.
- Dogs have 300 million scent-seeking receptors compared to six million for humans.
- Bats navigate in the absence of light by sending out ultrasounds and can analyze the signals that bounce back.
- Spiders construct sensory nets where their webs can capture the slightest vibrations.
- Snakes and other reptiles are sensitive to infrared.
- Bees and many birds are sensitive to ultraviolet.
Fortunately, we humans have a solid mix of sensory abilities and the wonderful capacity to expand them through the development of amazing technological innovations.
How and in what ways can you use your mind and focused attention to expand your perceptional abilities and interact more successfully with the world around you?
“I think you should always bear in mind that entropy is not on your side.”
—Elon Musk, entrepreneur, investor, and business magnate
Image from Unsplash by Ravi Patel
I’ve recently noticed more and more people in my communities simplifying their lives as they age. Entropy causes both people and things to fall apart, and it takes considerable energy and effort to keep things in working order. With this in mind and with the hands of time always turning, we get to choose where to focus our energies to keep our most essential life elements going and slow entropy’s inevitable victory.
What essential infrastructure projects in your life are getting the most attention and energy? Where do the issues of health and quality relationship stand on your list of priorities? What other areas are most important to maintain in good working order for as long as possible?
“Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”
—Jessica Howell, American actress and producer
Image from Unsplash by Zdeněk Macháček
Consider the concepts of entropy and order.
The first is about how things pursue a random path of coming apart. The second pertains to things coming together in a more organized state.
Where have some of the good things in your life and our world fallen apart? How many of these issues are related to entropy, bad luck, or perhaps our lack of attention and effort to bring order to these matters?
Where are things beginning to fall together—not by chance, but by individuals and communities of shared vision and values choosing to create their own good once again?
Where and how can you play a bigger, more positive role in your world so that better things will fall together? Consider placing the following quote by Desmond Tutu somewhere you will see it often—and consider reading my post about it from a few years ago.
“Do your little bit of good whoever you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”
“Your attention is being spammed all day long.”
—Michael S. Hyatt, American Leadership Expert
Image from Unsplash by Stephen Phillips
We can all easily think of a handful of spammy occurrences in our day, and agree that spam is something we detest and wish to avoid. Many of us have begun using spam detection and elimination tools to lighten the load.
Despite our efforts, few of us experience the full level of peace, calm, and freedom we desire throughout our days.
Over the past few decades, top astrophysicists introduced the phenomena of dark matter as the reason galaxies are held together in diverse and beautiful shapes. It is estimated that there is actually five times as much dark matter as regular matter that makes up the stars and planets we see.
What if there were five times the amount of spam than what we actually detect?
How might looking into the dark world of spam and its gravitational pull on our attention release us to lead far better lives?
“Rather than choose ‘all’ or ‘nothing,’ choose ‘a little something.’”
—Chip & Dan Heath – Decisive
Image from Amazon
It seems like it is necessary to “go big or go home” in order to get attention these days. The noise levels are so high that all in efforts are required to stand out.
How is this approach working for you or others in your personal and professional communities?
Growing up, my parents and grandparents believed that being loud and proud was not the path of a good life, and that humility and doing most things in moderation was the way to go.
Where in your life would taking the “a little something” approach be the wisest strategy to pursue? Where would finding a more moderate middle ground offer the right balance you may be seeking?
“For lack of attention, a thousand forms of loveliness elude us everyday.”
—Evelyn Underhill, 20th Century English writer and pacifist
Image from Unsplash by Chase Clark
I can still recall that I received an “E” in work habits in first grade at Creighton Elementary School in Philadelphia.
The exact words written by my teacher, Mrs. Gray were, “Barry has difficulty paying attention.”
Things must have improved a bit since I ended up with a “B” by the end of the year.
How is your level of focus and attention on your personal and professional priorities these days?
How engaged are you in your key relationships? Given the many distracting challenges facing all of us, what has your attention? To what degree are you fully observing the good and loveliness in the world?
Consider going back to the old game of Hide and Seek to focus on the many forms of loveliness all around. What approaches and strategies will you employ to not let them elude you?