Saturday, December 28, 2013

Stay Focused

Don't dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energies on moving forward toward finding the answer.

Denis Waitley

Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun's rays do not burn until brought to a focus.

Alexander Graham Bell

Concentration is a fine antidote to anxiety.

Jack Nicklaus

Stay focused.  Not like me.  Do better than I have done.  Stay focused and get things done.  Or don’t.  Stay focused well into the night.   Or go to bed early.  But stay focused.  Make a choice and don’t look back.  If I can, however, I’d like to stay focused on the right things.  I have work to do.
For the last two nights I have stayed up too late.  Tonight the plan is to go to bed by 11:00.  In order to make that happen, I need to do the following in the next three-and-a-half hours:
·      Write two blogs
·      Do a radio show
·      Walk for 30 minutes
Conceivably, I could write three blogs tomorrow and that will make things easier tonight, but why take chances?  If I can stay focused tonight, I can get everything done.  As always, my problem is staying focused.
Staying focused has always been hard for me.  Always.  Yes, in extreme situations I can do it.  Perhaps that’s why I create situations where I’m under a deadline, so that the stress will keep me focused.  Sometimes though, even that doesn’t work.  I’m constantly late or nearly late to everything.  To be honest, I don’t like the stress, but I keep creating it.  Jungian psychology might say this is my shadow side or that this has served me in the past.  Perhaps.  But it doesn’t serve me now.  It just makes my life harder.
Still, everything that has ever happened to me is now in the past.  Everything.  So I can sit here calmly and write.   That means I can’t go on Facebook, eBay or to my e-mail.  That means not answering the phone or chatting with anyone.  It means not cleaning my place (yet) or getting up for a snack (yet).  It means not looking at comic books or books unless they’re relevant to the task.   It means sitting here and writing until I’m done. 
I wish this weren’t so difficult.  The irony is that I really love writing.  It’s not like there are a lot of better options out there.   I don’t want to go out.  I rarely have the patience to sit through a movie or a TV show.  I’m not interested in socializing.  I have enough food and reading material to sustain me for quite a while.  I don’t even need to leave my place, except to walk.  Conceivably I could be alone for months.  If I didn’t have certain obligations, if I knew I wouldn’t miss my kids (I would) and I didn’t need to work, I think I could be quite content here for weeks with no one but my Muse.
Perhaps that isn’t true.  Perhaps I would get lonely after a while.  In his blog, Matthew Schuler said, “Most creative people tend to be both introverted and extroverted. Many people tend toward one extreme or the other, but highly creative people are a balance of both simultaneously.”  (  
I love people and there are times when I draw strength and encouragement from them.  More important, there are times when I can give strength and encouragement to them. There are also times when I just want to be alone, and for a long time.  I just want to be here with my Muse and my books.  Perhaps that’s selfish, as C.S. Lewis says, which is why I’m glad to have a job that helps others directly (resume writing and job search coaching).  I’m also glad that I do work that puts me in front of others (teaching and motivational speaking). 
When I was younger, I always preferred having a room of my own.  I didn’t enjoy sharing a room.  When I did, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  But when I had a room of my own, I could spend hours alone with no problem.  This hasn’t changed much.  I’m still an introvert and an extrovert at the same time.  This reminds me of Walt Whitman’s lines:

“Do I contradict myself?
Very well, then, I contradict myself.
I am large.
I contain multitudes.”

This is not a self-congratulatory blog.   Yes, I may be creative, confusing and contradictory.  So are most people.  I’ve said the following many times:
·      I have a gift, many gifts actually, and I feel privileged and obligated to use them.
·      So do most people.

I don’t believe that using my gifts makes me better or more talented than others.  It may create more opportunities for me though.  Or it just might make me happier.    It has helped me more than anything else to Get Started and to Keep Going…and to stay focused, as best as I can.