November 16, 2017 Focus changes everything

I have always enjoyed driving.  Since I was 8 years old and I started working on large equipment on my grandfather’s work sites, I enjoy operating anything with an engine.  I had go-carts and motorcycles as early as age 4.  The feeling of control and freedom to go and do things without limitations was and still is exhilarating.  Have you ever noticed when you are driving on an open road you can relax and enjoy the experience but when you are driving is rush hour traffic through construction with large truck with trailers all around you can become nervous or worried?

Why would it make a difference in the grand scheme of things if there is traffic, construction or just open road?  The difference is what you are focused on during the drive.  On an open road you focus on the scenery but your true focus is on your end goal, the destination you are traveling towards.  For many, when you are traveling on congested highways with concrete barriers you are just focused on the immediate dangers and looking for any possible way to get out of the mess.

I know people that cannot drive next to a concrete barrier wall even if no other traffic is around.  The barrier is not in their lane and the strips on the road are the same width as they are without the barrier.  The focus is what causes the distraction.  When they see the wall they no longer focus on the lines painted on the road, all they can see is the wall.

In life we need to recognize when we are metaphorically moving towards goals on an empty road versus a congested freeway under construction.  Often the items we focus on may actually not be an obstacle, it may simply be a distraction we allow to take us off course.  Have you ever been driving and all of a sudden traffic slows to a crawl?  Wishing a few minutes, if you are lucky, you will find what the problem has been on your path.  Usually, it is a vehicle that is broken down in a lane, or possibly a wreck.  If everyone focused on getting around the blockage so they could continue on the journey the traffic would slow down but not as much as it does.  It is human nature to make sure we see what happened and then we spend half the day telling others.

At the same time we cannot find time to get everything done in a day that we know needs to be accomplished.  This does not have to be the case.  We can choose to focus on the items that are truly important and delegate or assign out other task that do not return the best results for our time invested.  I enjoy mowing the lawn, even as a child I would come home and see the neighbors had mowed and then insist my mother let me mow before dinner.  As a father, church leader and manger I have very little time to do everything.  We have to learn to say no at times and it can be hard because some activities bring us relaxation, and even joy.  If we learn to prioritize our time better and not get distracted we will find greater peace and joy in life.

Today as you travel towards your goals ask yourself what am I focused on and is it leading to my end goal or slowing me down?  Does slowing down make since or is it just something I am use to doing?  Is it a distraction or an obstacle that I need to overcome?  Then prioritize how you will move forward.  Some people use a to do list and others just focus on the most important task.  Find your system and find a way to measure your results.  What we measure improves.

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