MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “focus”

Filtering our focus

In a time of rapidly evolving channels of information, is the problem that we know too much, or that we think we do? We’re constantly trying to keep up with the tide, but it seems that something else beats us to the news. There is always something happening we know little to nothing about, or worse – we only know part of.

We hoard information from so many sources for later. Because there’s just too much to read out there, and there’s little time to do it in. No matter how fast you skim read, haven’t you found yourself skipping articles or emails, or saving them for later, if it’s more than three scrolls long? In this busy contemporary lifestyle, we need to get to the point quickly. We’ve become so easily distracted that things – people and conversations included – need to gain our focus fast (and keep it), otherwise they’re considered tiresome and unworthy of our attention.

It may be dubbed “first-world problems”, but let’s face it, this is the environment we live in. We need to adjust to survive.

This acute article that came my way from my inspiring boss who knows me all too well, resonated with me from the very first sentence. If you’re a reader, you know to the bone what it’s like to hoard reading material in all forms – paper and digital. You also apprehend what it feels like to tell yourself you’ll read it later, but instead keep elongating that list that never seems to get shorter or even at the least done. Perhaps the real problem though is not that we hoard too much, but rather that we fail to filter right. It is indeed unfeasible to read everything we would like; a lifetime would not suffice for that. But shouldn’t we be able to prioritise what’s important?

Like the people and things we devote our attention to, prioritising is important in maintaining a healthy, productive and sane lifestyle.

Just think about this: when you’re younger you usually make a habit of remembering everyone’s birthday, sending out celebratory wishes and attending as many parties as you can. But as you grow older, you begin to filter out people, keeping in your social circle those who matter, who enrich your life and who make you smile. Even if you do remember certain birthdays, you choose to celebrate those of value. And that’s what makes them more special. Because they belong to the selected list of few exceptional people.

Shouldn’t we be doing that with everything we dedicate our time and attention to? Otherwise, what’s the point, really?

The harmony of a puzzle

Going through life is like making a puzzle.

You have to face the bafflement of having all the pieces muddled up in a pile before you and not knowing where to start.

You need to get organised and comply with a plan to get started. You first dig through the pile, carefully searching for the pieces with a straight edge that will form the frame of it.

As you complete more pieces, you learn to become more focused searching for specific aspects: a side bent awkwardly, a strange shape, a distinct colouring.

You find that once you begin and get drawn into the whole process, you become more concentrated, devoted to your target: one more piece that will fit.

You manage the irritation of having to twist and turn the pieces around, trying and failing endlessly until you find the right one.

But then, you are able to fully appreciate the satisfaction of everything falling into place as you find the pieces that perfectly attach to each other effortlessly.

The way you handle a puzzle may also be seen as a metaphor for life.

It teaches you to be patient, to have a plan and be organised, to be methodical and concentrated, to focus on your goals, to try and fail numerous times without giving up, and to value every success, no matter how small and how long it takes to achieve it.

But most of all, it teaches you that harmony comes with trial and error, that it is the small pieces that will eventually compose the bigger picture, and that sometimes you need to attempt with the wrong ones before the right ones come along that will fit perfectly into place.

Taking time off

One of the most pleasing sentiments in the world is setting out for an adventure. You don’t care how early or late you travel in this case, because you are certain that your destination will recompense the trouble of getting there.

Embarking on an adventure usually entails taking time off your usual routine. It means shutting out everything that, no matter how much you enjoy doing, has made you weary and exhausted due to its prolonged and repeated nature.

We all need time off. A break. To detox, regroup and rejuvenate. A welcome recess; that time of doing nothing, will help you bring things into perspective. It is only when you change your view on things that you manage to see a clearer picture.

And you realise that you can draw inspiration and motivation from the simplest things in life. Those that in the hustle and bustle of daily chaos you tend to forget exist.

You’ll go where you focus your light on. You just need to remember that you are responsible for shining it. And it order to maintain its brightness, you need to recharge it when it gets dim.

There is a good quote, which says that you won’t let the fuel in your car drop to empty, why do you allow it to happen to you? Letting your energy drain.

August is that perfect period to shut down for a while. To allow your mind and soul to breathe. To regain your strength, rediscover your focus and set new goals. It is the time to dream and make plans on how to achieve them.

Take time off. You’ll be thankful you did when you return relaxed, refreshed, recharged.

Adjust your focus

©Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

It began to rain suddenly, with black clouds sailing in fast to hide the sun. It had been suffocative and humid from early morning. Perhaps that explained the agitation that had overtaken most people.

He had just cleaned the windows, proudly admiring how spotlessly clean they had become.

But they became all foggy again.

And that is when he remembered something he had seen in an ad just a few hours ago: “when life gets blurry, adjust your focus”.

Indeed, “we often see the world, not as it is, but as we are──or, as we are conditioned to see it”.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

Frames intact

© Mikhael Sublett

“What do you see?”

He took the picture and examined it.

“Destruction”.

“Why?” she pressed.

“Just look at the ruins on the floor. The crumbled wall, the pieces apart. Broken fragments of what they once were.”

“What do you think that represents?”

“Human relationships”, he uttered. “They break in an instant and it’s both frightening and tragic that someone you once couldn’t imagine your life without can become a complete stranger”.

He pushed away a tear.

“But look closer. Don’t you see the frame lying almost intact? It’s simply upside-down but unscratched. Life is what we chose to focus on”.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

Searching for allies in our head

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It was a cold, winter day with north winds howling through the window. The cold crept indoors, no matter how tightly shut the airways were.

He was moaning about how freezing it was even inside.

She had her mind elsewhere to pay too much attention. It was just the start of winter; more cold would surely follow.

Each person has random things hovering inside their mind. Things that grasp their attention at times when they should be focused on something or someone else. But we don’t know about them unless they are shared with us. Unless that someone else lets us into their mind, and on condition that we are empathetic enough to understand how and why whatever the problem is, is causing so much concern to the person next to us.

We are all different. It is inevitably so. And as such, we don’t all view the world in the same way. Problems we see as “end of the world”-type disasters, to someone else may be negligible mishaps. It is difficult to find people who share our point of view, our perspective, let alone our values. The meaning of “important” is not the same for everyone. That is why it is often challenging to explain what it is that is draining our energy and our mental health.

And that is why people often choose to bury themselves in a shell, rather than speak out. Because it is easier to shy away than try to make others understand.

He left, once again, as he always did when he couldn’t – or didn’t want to – understand her.

Just an hour later, the central heating in the building was turned on, presenting a strong ally against the cold.

Professor-prompts

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“Not everyone can do everything. Because it is as simple a fact that you can’t be good at many things. You can adequately do a lot, but only expertly do a few”.

He clearly remembered his professor’s words since the first day of college.

He was investing time to gain the knowledge required to specialise in one specific sector.

However, in an age of multitasking and in a labour market that sought individuals with a range of skills, he found the prompt contradictory.

How could you focus on one thing alone when the world was asking you to know more?

His professor was the one who offered the reply.

The more specific knowledge you possess, the greater ability you have in comprehending a situation and offering solutions others cannot see”.

He then handed him a quote from a famous scientist. It said: “A smattering of everything is worth little. It is a fallacy to suppose that an encyclopaedic knowledge is desirable. The mind is made strong, not through much learning, but by the thorough possession of something” (Louis Agassiz).

Never stop learning. Seek knowledge on everything and anything. But know what to invest on and specialise on something in particular. That will make you stand out. And it will make you sought-after and marketable”.

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