Focus on your path

 CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!?!?!?! 

We have reached the end of summer – WHAAAAAAT? 

Labor Day Weekend (the unofficial end to summer) begins in a matter of hours! School started back this week (at least for my neighbors kids – check local listings for times and days in your area). All of which leads me to the classic question:

What did you do this summer? 

For me it was a busy summer. Full of Farmers Markets and work; Wildlife and new friends; small adventures and learning new things;  sea turtles and WOW is that just amazing; and just getting off the couch! It was a summer of doing things! (and still there was plenty of couch time). I read more, I complained less.  In years past plans would be made but when it came time to do – – the appeal of relaxing won!

It is easy to justify enjoying the air conditioning after working 8-10 hours in the sun! It’s effortless to give in and choose ease over exertion. But not this summer! This summer a conscious decision was made to do things. I made a conscious decision to live life! I saw the beach and sat on the beach more this summer than I have in probably 10 years.

Beach Time

 However, the most important thing I did this summer – – I stopped comparing my life to someone else’s life!

WOW! Is it freeing! 

You see when you are in that comparison game it is easy to find a plethora of people who fill the need of your comparison. (I know that’s a strange sentence – so, let me explain). I can make myself seem better, or worse, depending on who I use as my comparison stick. But my life, my talents, my interests do not always align with the person I use for comparison.

It is like comparing apples and oranges. 

One of my all-time favorite quotes is from Albert Einstein:

picture from Pretty Spiffy Art

picture from Pretty Spiffy Art

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”  ~~ Albert Einstein

It is difficult to not look at other peoples lives and compare. It is difficult to hear someone’s story and not wish to one-up them or to tell them how your life is worse (maybe that’s one-down them?).

I almost believe it is human nature. To use others to build ourselves up or to use our story to break others down. However, it is VERY freeing to decide not to compare! In the end, we are all walking a hard path, but it is our path. We may have friends who join for a while. We may share burdens. In the end we all walk at our own pace on our own path.

I implore you today to enjoy your walk. Focus on your path!

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Driven to Distraction

This morning I awoke with a blog post idea floating around in my head. I often feel that these are my best blog posts…the ones I write in my sleep. I hopped out of bed, grabbed my coffee and sat down to write.

Then it happened, DISTRACTION!

It started with me thinking, what bills must be paid this week? We suffered a rainout on Saturday (or near rainout) and therefore diminished income. I stopped to figure this out.

Okay, I have a plan! Time to write!

Then my brain shifted to the things I need to do this week! Make a list, prioritize. Mark off a few things. Accomplish some of the urgent needs.

Okay, now I can write.

Jenn pops her head in, ‘can I ask a few questions?’ ‘Sure’ Okay, that’s done – she’s off to her day and tasks.

Okay, NOW, I can write!

Refresh coffee, look for reference material. Phone rings, it is mom. ‘Hello’  ‘Computer problems AGAIN?’ We figure out a plan of action (which probably requires a new computer).

OKAY – finally, I can write – what was my topic again?

According to the official US Government website on distracted driving (yes Virginia, there is such a thing) 18% of injury crashes in 2010 were reported as distraction-affected crashes and 3092 people were killed in crashes involving a distracted driver and an estimated additional 416,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving a distracted driver.

So, if our driving could be almost 20% better by focus….imagine how much better this blog post could be without all the distractions!

You might actually be finished reading this AND know what my topic was going to be.

Happy Monday, Ya’ll…. Focus on something good today.

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How will you decide today to begin the journey toward your dream?

In the book Think and Grow Rich Napoleon Hill said “The starting point of all achievement is desire. Keep this constantly in mind. Weak desires bring weak results, just as a small amount of fire makes a small amount of heat.” You are holding your world in the palm of your hands. The only requirement from you is the strong desire to accomplish your wishes and dreams.

How will you decide today to begin the journey toward your dream? Your world is waiting!

 

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Keep Your Goal in Your Sights

It is easy to get side tracked in life. As the old saying goes, it is sometime hard to remember that the goal is to drain the swamp while constantly fighting the alligators. I recently celebrated a birthday; Birthdays are the perfect time for reflection. As I reflected on my life I realized I have spend far too many days dealing with alligators and not enough days draining the swamp.

What about you? Are you remaining vigilant of your goals? Or are you letting them slip by you as you deal with day to day living?

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Focus on Focus

I am often accused of having what my spouse calls ‘conversational whiplash’ which means I can (and often do) jump from topic to topic with no real segue. It’s not that I mean to jump from thing to thing but that my mind is racing so fast, that I have trouble (especially in a relaxed state) calming the associations my mind makes.

concentration

I admit, this often happens to me when I am trying to work on a project. I have trouble with focus. Perhaps you do as well. Here are my steps for helping me to remain focused on my task.

1. Get enough sleep – Everyone requires a different amount of sleep. Like the story of the Three Bears, it is important to find the amount that is ‘just right’ for you. A mind that has not had enough sleep will be scattered and lethargic. Set a regular bedtime and a set wake up time and stick to it.

2. Have a well-defined goal– It is imperative that you have a well-defined goal. As I have stated many times, you will not when you arrive, if you are unsure of where you are going. Know what you want and have a plan for getting there.

3. Break your goal into manageable steps – It is one thing to know your goal is to build a house. However, to accomplish this goal takes the planning to know each step along the way and the proper order of execution. Keep your eye on the overall goal but plan for the part you are doing today.

4. Exercise – A body that has pent up energy can produce a distracted mind. The best way to improve your concentration all day long is by exercising first thing in the morning.

5. Take Breaks and Mix Up the Environment – Fatigue can negatively affect concentration. The best remedy for this is taking breaks and changing your work environment. When you find yourself losing focus, get up and take a walk. It can also be helpful to work in different places. I have found that a few minutes of quiet meditation is all I need to rejuvenate my focus on the task.

6. Listen to the right types of music. – Music is a great way of creating a higher focus environment. Music can drown out co-workers chatting or other distracting noises. Be careful though, not all music is appropriate for every task. For example, I enjoy music with no lyrics when in high focus situations.

7. Clean up your deskI am not suggesting you necessarily need an empty desk, just an orderly, well-supplied desk.

I cannot promise that these steps will cure ‘conversational whiplash’ but they do allow me the opportunity to practice the discipline of focus.

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Pay Attention

Our attention is a precious commodity, just like our time, our money and our talents.  When our attention is drawn in different directions we are unable to give full focus to anything and everything suffers.

When you set your attention on an idea or passion, that thing will grow and prosper.  If you choose to really pay attention to your family, and I mean full attention, not watching the basketball game while listening to your son, your relationship with them will grow and become deeper and more fulfilling.

If you choose to really focus on your fantasy football team,giving all your attention to picking the right players and making the right substitutions at the right time you might win your league and feel a great sense of accomplishment, but at what cost?

There are so many things competing for our attention.  It’s difficult to give to all of them and if you try, you usually end up feeling frazzled, tired and with no sense of accomplishment.  It’s critical to take back your attention, focus on the things that are most important to you.  If you do, if you are able to fully concentrate on reaching your goals, there is nothing you can’t accomplish.

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