Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Focus On The Revolution

Focus on the Revolution.

I've been absent from the blog for a little bit. This was not intentional. But a neccesary byproduct of life.

I've been revolutionizing some things. And revolution takes time. Revolution takes....focus.

Since my last blog I've written two songs, started collaborating with two (way above my pay grade) songwriters, started working out and eating right again, booked a 3 month Australian tour, booked two weeks of session work/writing time at a studio in LA, started a new side business and highly edited my business model for my main business/"real job" music career.


But I also did one more thing. I realized I had a focus problem. I don't mean that I found out I have ADHD, or that I lacked focus. Far from it. I have always been one of the most focused people I know. I realized I was misusing my focus.

Part of my new "lifestyle change" if you will, is that in addition to actual exercise I'm going to walk a little every morning as a kind of meditation and mental focus time. I love being outside. But I rarely just walk. I usually like doing something more aggressive or active. Usually if I simply walk I eventually get bored and then jog or run part of my journeys. Therefore I devised a plan. I will bring a ball with me everyday and bounce it. This will keep my pace slow and therefore allow my mind to be what is exercised (My physical exercise is going to be done at a different time slot). The walk is for meditation purposes.

Since this was day one , I had to find a ball. Well I'm a guy plus I am a former athlete. I didn't figure finding a ball in my house would be an issue. I went to grab a ball.

No ball.

Ummm....surely there's a tennis ball around here somewhere. Nope. Basketball? Dang. I am embarrassed that I do not have a ball in my house. Well I eventually came across an old hacky sack. It isn't a ball but I figured it would be a suitable replacement (for today anyway). I'd just have to toss it hand to hand instead of dribble it.

So I set out on my walk, hacky sack in hand. I tossed it from right hand to left. Then left to right. Repeated. Well after a couple throws my mind drifted to all of the career/life things I listed above. The throwing of the hacky sack was subconscious.

Well until I thought , "Wow, I'm throwing a hacky sack without focusing on it". That thought struck a chord with me.

I could have easily been staring at the hacky sack each throw, contemplating exactly how to let it roll off my fingers, exactly how much force to put behind the toss and exactly where to position my other hand to catch it. But I didn't. My mind was a million miles away from that hacky sack yet the task of catching was still accomplished.

This thought excited me.

How far could I take this?

I mean I had been mentally elsewhere, but I had still been keeping my eyes on the hacky sack as it flew through the air. My mental focus had definitely been elsewhere but my visual focus had stayed on the hacky sack.
Could I pay even less attention to the task and accomplish it?

For the rest of the 2.5 mile walk I intentionally focused my gaze nowhere near the hacky sack. I purposefully fixed my eyes on a point far down the road (my metaphoric and simultaneously real destination).

I tossed the hacky sack and still caught it. Again after a few tosses I let my mind drift back to all my new exciting affairs.

I kept catching the hacky sack.


I will admit that I dropped the hacky sack once in a while but with no more regularity than when I was keeping my eyes on it.

This experiment in peripheral vision and subconscious movement had some profound effect on me.

As I walked along I realized that my over active focus on music and business had been wasted (well partially wasted). I realized that just having focus isn't enough. Focus needs focusing too (if that makes sense).

Just like my attention to the hacky sack, many things that I had been devoting huge chunks of time and focus to were able to be accomplished with little or no focus. My over active focus is a good thing ......if and only if it is aimed.

So I've had a revolution in life approach. Some would just call it prioritizing. But it is slightly different than that (at least in my mind).

In addition to prioritizing (keeping my eyes down the road , focused on the "destination" and the most important things) I'm also not going to spend much time or focus, if any, on things that are on autopilot (I will treat them like I treat the catching of the hacky sack. Paying a little extra focus when an error occurs. Otherwise let it run on autopilot).

I believe there are tons of things in my life that have been time suckers and attention suckers. If those things require attention and time to work, THEN I have to decide if they are worth saving. If they can work on their own, I'm going to set them in motion and let em run. As I said, if a problem arises surely I'll have to spend a little time and effort fixing issues. But the time and effort will be minimal and more importantly it will be temporary.

I feel like I let lots of tasks consume a low level of my attention all the time. Not anymore.

The important things will now have more of my attention. The smaller (autopilot) tasks will fend for themselves. I'll tend those when needed.

I've only just begun this approach but I can tell you it feels great. It feels right. And I recommend you try it.

As a matter of fact try my experiment.

Get a ball or a hacky sack. Take a 20-30 min walk tomorrow morning. Start tossing the ball hand to hand. Initially you will need to focus on that action. But slowly move your focus to a spot down the road. Think about the things you plan to accomplish today or your grocery list or just let your mind wander. But let the tossing back and forth slide into your subconscious.

If you drop it , so what. Pick it up and start again.

When you return home, think about your figurative "spot down the road" that deserves more of your time and focus. Then find 3 tasks that you worry or toil over that could really be put on autopilot.

Then repeat tomorrow.

Hopefully it's as rewarding for you as it has been for me.

1 comment:

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