Beautiful Exciting Distractions

Does your focus need more focus? Mine does quite often.

Weapons Of Mass Distraction (photo by Hunter Langston on Flickr)

The never-ending to-do list that seems to grow each day. No matter how many items get checked off, it just won’t get any smaller. Job, family, writing, yard work, exercise, the list of things that need to get done just doesn’t quit.

Funny how in the midst of all of this activity, other non-related interests can crop up. It seems like there wouldn’t be a spare minute to try and do anything else, but I’m drawn back into one of my other interests.

Many years ago I took a class on how to make wooden longbows and I really enjoy making them. They do take quite a bit of time to make, not to mention the need for tools and a workbench. As we are preparing to move to the boat, I don’t have a workbench and only a small selection of hand tools. No more power tools.

So making bows has pretty much been relegated to the mental attic to be pulled out some time in the future when I have access to power tools and a place to work.

Until I ran across some videos on YouTube by Nick, the Backyard Bowyer. He shares his techniques of building some really amazing bows with little more than PVC pipe and a heat source.

He is making bows that have some really advanced designs for traditional style bows. When they are painted, it is hard to tell the difference between them and their wooden cousins.

Oh great. One more thing that is crying for my attention when I’m already living on less than 6 hours of sleep a night. I really can’t afford to fit another thing on my plate right now. But that is not what my mind is telling me.

Stop!  You must resist!

“Come on, it’s just a few minutes of time. It doesn’t take a workbench or any big, expensive tools.”

Sure I could justify the few dollars of pipe and the time to make a couple of these. But do they get us any closer to getting on the boat and setting sail?

No, they don’t. They are a distraction. A wonderful, exciting, tantilizing distraction. One more thing that would take my focus off of what I need to get done so that we can achieve the dream we’ve been chasing for over a decade now.

Its funny how when we are on track to meet a long term goal, some part of our mind tries everything it can to get us to falter and derail us. There must be some kind of deep rooted fear that the subconscious is railing against that I’m not aware of. Why else would it be so tempting to devote some of my precious time to something that does not further our long term goals.

This is like the almost overwhelming desire to go shopping and spend money when you are trying to get out of debt. You may be very close to paying off and cutting up that last credit card and then you see “The Thing”. That one thing that you have wanted more than anything else for longer than you can remember, and when you see it, you must have it.

There is no rational reason to buy it, but it sings to you anyway. Seductively calling your name. Nearly impossible to resist.

STOP! You must resist! Don’t give in to its siren song. That is just your subconscious testing you to see if you are fully committed to reaching your goal.

I have to keep telling myself that while making longbows may be a fun thing to do, it isn’t getting us any closer to being on the boat. Focus! As Jackie Chan says in the Karate Kid, “Your focus needs more focus.”

So, I just tell my subconscious, “not yet” and put this distraction back up in my mind’s attic. It will be there once we are on the boat and I’ve got more free time than I know what to do with. Then it will be something that I can do with my kids. It will be something that I can teach others as we visit different ports on our journey.

It will no longer be a distraction, it will be a gift.

Make sure that your focus is strong enough to overcome the beautiful, exciting distractions that will come along. Know that they will be there once you reach your goals and then you can turn your focus on to them and they will no longer be a distraction.

What is your beautiful, exciting distraction and how are you overcoming it right now? Please share with us in the comments so we can all get better at overcoming them.


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