All of the children wiggled with energy, eyes focused on the tee ball coach as he explained the game plan in as few words as possible. Parents were lined up on the bleachers, awaiting that one precious snapshot moment when their little slugger would make tee ball history, if even for a day. My son’s team was first to bat, and the top of the inning went off without a hitch. The guest team was good, as good as a well trained tee ball team could be. Our coach kept talking to the players, keeping them focused and ready to grab any ball coming their direction.
At one point, I had turned to talk with one of the mothers, and we were doing what most do with young children, comparing stories and bylines of our kids. Her son was up to bat, and I saw her flash him a reassuring smile along with a few words of encouragement. With a swing worthy of a home run, her son smacked the ball off the tee, and it was heading straight for my son, in perfect alignment for him to drop his glove to the ground and scoop up the ball just as he had practiced.
Fumbling to get my camera shot as quickly as I could, what awaited me was a picture only a mother could love. There stood my adorable, inattentive four year old son, who had hiked the back of his uniform shirt up over his head, causing his arms to raise up high enough that he couldn’t even move them let alone catch a ball. With feet kicking the dirt and arms swinging back and forth from hunched shoulders, he was lost in his own world, pretending to be a monkey, oblivious to anyone or anything around him. His distraction had served as great entertainment for him and for us, and the batter was able to run straight past him to the next base without even being noticed by my son. Ah, well, there is always the next game. The cutest picture of the day; definitely!
“Any occurrence requiring undivided attention will be accompanied by a compelling distraction.” The Hutchinson Law by Robert Bloch
Recently, in the process of identifying my new year challenge, I was met head on with this principle. Identifying my new challenge and coming to grips with the amount of time, focus and effort it would require quickly gave way to the temptation to wander and divert my attention to a number of other choices which might give me equal satisfaction and much more timely gratification. In this case, the distraction was obvious, and I was able to refocus quickly, but there are many other instances in which the distractions present themselves with such subtlety that I am drawn in before I am even aware.
Distractions will always dare to take us off course from what our true passions and life goals are. Many times these distractions serve as an important process in determining our passions and goals. Our courses change as we journey through the various seasons of our life, and focus is such a key element is grabbing those challenges which accompany our passions and goals. How easily life presents distractions which promise instant gratification, if only for a day. How easily our eyes wander, leading us away from the very thing we were meant to accomplish.
“Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure.” Provers 4:25-27
Focus requires a game plan. A game plan requires focus and tenacity. One of the best ways to avoid distractions:
- Write the goal.
- Read the goal every day.
- Plan in writing the steps to achieve the goal.
- Create a written timeline.
- Acquire support from a friend.
- Monitor written progress.
- Celebrate the baby steps in some tangible way.
- Give yourself permission to play.
- Evaluate and adjust the plan as needed.
- Enjoy the journey.
What is your New Year challenge? What were you born to do?
It’s never too late!