Focus in a Distracted World

“Whenever you want to achieve something, keep your eyes open, concentrate and make sure you know exactly what it is you want. No one can hit their target with their eyes closed.”

Paulo Coelho, The Devil and Miss Prym

Coronavirus. Cardi B’s new video. Kamala Harris is the new Democrat VP pick. It seems like there is always something to discuss. Something to keep the public at large distracted and interested in the world around it. How can anyone have time for anything when there are so many things happening at an almost lightning fast pace? Is there ever a time where one can simply unwind and forget about the various information that is being overloaded into our psyches these days? Is there a purpose behind all this information overload? Is there something one can do to clear their head from it all? What could benefit the average person to maintain structure in the chaotic information atmosphere.

Focus. Society needs focus. Today’s world is too overloaded and people need to get away from it all because a lack of focus keeps people so busy and distracted that they never actually accomplish anything other than burning themselves out. If people don’t retain focus on a goal or task at hand, they will inevitably fall into bad habits just to feel alive. Consumption of alcohol, porn, or anything that makes someone feel good are often powerful distractions from completing important tasks in one’s life. The problem with being distracterd by information overload and instaneous pleasures is that they only feel good momentarily. There’s no such thing as forever, so the average person doesn’t measure up the future or remember past mistakes because they’re simply trying to make it from one moment to the next. Being distracted by something outside of themselves feels good because they can always turn the bad news off when it gets too close to home unlike a problem that presents itself in the flesh. Gossip, drama, and addiction are often used as a way to run away from one’s problems as opposed to facing them head on. The issues of a lack of focus are not new ones. Dating as far back as the Roman Empire, maintaining focus on the task has always been something people needed to remind themselves to do. Marcus Aurelius puts it into words most can understand quite easily:

“Don’t let your imagination be crushed by life as a whole. Don’t try to picture everything bad that could possibly happen. Stick with the situation at hand, and ask, “Why is this so unbearable? Why can’t I endure it?” You’ll be embarrassed to answer. Then remind yourself that past and future have no power over you. Only the present—and even that can be minimized. Just mark off its limits. And if your mind tries to claim that it can’t hold out against that…well, then, heap shame upon it.”

Marcus Aurelius

The Roman Empire was just as much a flourishing nation in ancient times as the modern world is considered now being the beacon of civilization in its time. Yet with that fact, the idea of trying to maintain focus was still as much of a problem then as it is today. They were distracted with Gladiator games, senseless orgies, and all sorts of problems before the decline. Sound familiar? It is as if government is trying to keep people fearful and focused on superficial wants to keep the focus off the fact that things are about to change. They don’t want people preparing for a possibly more drastic future. A focused mind is a dangerous weapon that can change things for better or worse when an opening arises. There are powers in play that want to keep the average man distracted by news of problems or issues one cannot possibly solve. What is one to do to maintain focus in a distracted world?

Start with the Present

If Marcus Aurelius is anything to go by, one can start at the present moment. Is there something you think you need to do right now? Is there a problem that needs solving? Something you want to do but never got around to it? If one is to get moving, the time is now. You only can live in the present. The past is over and the future isn’t guaranteed. If you’re too focused on either end of the spectrum, but forget the middle, you’ll procrastinate and nothing ever gets done.

For example, the very blog that you’re reading at this present moment may not be the very first time you’ve ever read such advice. In fact, this may remind you of something you read in a self help book somewhere. That doesn’t mean you can’t be reminded of what works and use it at the moment you’re reading this. As I write this, I try to maintain focus on helping someone maintain their own focus on whatever their goals are. I’m using the present to complete this task instead of waiting for a “perfect moment” that will never come. Life is short, cheap, and often hard. Make it easier by creating a solution towards your next goal here and now, which brings us to our next point. Problem solving.

If You Don’t Have a Goal, Solve a Problem

Sometimes, in order to maintain focus on what you want in life, you have to get that extra kick in the ass to get you moving. You don’t have a sense of direction because you’re too easily distracted by news, entertainment, or addiction. When the mind is constantly distracted you tend to forget that you have one guarantee in life that doesn’t care about your problems: The fact that you will always have problems.

Problems always arise and they wont wait for the right time to be solved. They will only grow so big that one can only run away for so long until the problems catch up with them. We all run away from our problems, but fixing them always seems to work if we focus on fixing them. Sometimes, the funny thing about solving problems, is that they can actually be the solution to another problem or can motivate you towards a higher goal or purpose. If anything, problem solving is pretty much almost the entire point of goals and systems in the first place. If there were no problems, what would be left to even accomplish?

Remove Distractions

Focus is clearly about committment. You have to be willing to drown out all other distractions. Try to find even as much as a half an hour to become bored enough to compelte your task. The internet can entertain us so much that you literally forget how much time has elapsed due to mere distraction alone. You’re looking at a political post on Twitter and next thing you know, you’re so deep in the conversation that you realize over an hour has passed in what felt like minutes.

People in society often only got anywhere because there was a problem that ate into their soul and it needed solving. With an information and entertainment overload, you’re unabl;e to focus on the problem that needed solving. You’re getting too entertained. Porn is practically free and the click of a button away. If you love video games. movies or reading, you probably have an endless library of entertainment you haven’t touched because you work too many hours to get to everything.

You need to get bored. You need to put all your entertainment aside and just sit in nothingness for a minute to get some perspective on what is important for you. That sense of boredom will let you get in touch with your emotions to understand what motivates you to start whatever project you wish to undertake or continue practicing what you wish to perfect. Entertainment merely turns to addiction, which brings us to our next point.

Get Addicted

In order to get started, one must become motivated. In order to accomplish the goal, one must be addicted. The word addicted can seem like something negative since there are instances where addiction can destroy someone life. That doesn’t negate the fact that a healthy addiction to one’s passions and desires is necessary to accomplish anything. If everything is done in moderation, nothing great is ever achieved because no one ever wants to take the next step. No one wants to fully realize their dreams. Being moderate works in some instances, but to achieve something you can be proud of, one must become addicted. One must want it so badly that they get up that much earlier to accomplish their goal. That is what separates the focused from the casually interested.

With that, I leave you, my fellow daydreamer to focus on what is right in front of you and waiting to be grabbed. The distractions of the modern world were made to keep you pacified. They were made to take the fire from your soul. Don’t let society take your reason for living away from youand focus on your desires above all else. Remain focused.

Until the next Daydream…

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