Friday, March 22, 2013

Back in Focus

"You can't depend on your judgment when your imagination is out of focus." Mark Twain

James Allen said the ability to focus "is a process of diverting one's scattered forces into one powerful channel." In a story involving Yogi Berra, the well-known catcher for the New York Yankees, and Hank Aaron, who at that time was the chief power hitter for the Milwaukee Braves. The teams were playing in the World Series, and as usual Yogi was keeping up his ceaseless chatter, intended to pep up his teammates on the one hand, and distract the Milwaukee batters on the other. As Aaron came to the plate, Yogi tried to distract him by saying, “Henry, you’re holding the bat wrong. You’re supposed to hold it so you can read the trademark.” Aaron didn’t say anything, but when the next pitch came he hit it into the left-field bleachers. After rounding the bases and tagging up at home plate, Aaron looked at Yogi Berra and said, “I didn’t come up here to read.” (Nehemiah, Learning to Lead, J. M. Boice, Revell, 1990, p. 38)

It seems the one thing that has become difficult to do in this day and age is to remain focused. There is so much vying for our attention and our time, to remained steadfast toward a certain goal or objective, seems almost impossible. Think about the myriad of 'things' that assault us on a daily basis. Can you remember the day we never had a cell phone? I can! It used to just be television and radio, but now it's the internet and our phones. With the technology that is now available with our phones, all of life's distractions can be accessed in the palm of our hands. Wow! Everywhere we go, we can bring a handful of distractions with us! From texting to Facebook, I find myself inundated with a constant flow of information. When I begin to think about these many distractions in our lives, I begin to wonder how much the human mind can handle and at the same time, how difficult it is to remained focused while so distracted and interrupted on a daily basis. Henry Ford said, “A weakness of all human beings is trying to do too many things at once. That scatters effort and destroys direction. It makes for haste, and haste makes waste. So we do things all the wrong ways possible before we come to the right one. Then we think it is the best way because it works, and it was the only way left that we could see. Every now and then I wake up in the morning headed toward that finality, with a dozen things I want to do. I know I can’t do them all at once. ”When asked what he did about that, Ford replied, “I go out and trot around the house. While I’m running off the excess energy that wants to do too much, my mind clears and I see what can be done and should be done first.” (Bits and Pieces, September 19, 1991, p. 18)

It's not that I think these technologies are bad, or need to be abandoned. If these technologies are used properly, they are great tools that can be very beneficial and helpful in our daily lives. But one thing is certain, if you try to chase two rabbits, both will escape. We must be careful they don't become the distractions that hinder our focus. One of the paradoxes of all these technologies seems to be the same technologies that bring us some deliverance and freedom, also seem to bring with them a form of entrapment or bondage. For example, we are living in the 'information age' and the freedom to access information through the television, internet, and now our phones has provided a certain amount of empowerment. Never before in the history of mankind has so much been available at one's fingertip. Yet, there seems to be this incredible information overload. Most of us seem so overwhelmed with information we have a problem of balance and discernment. With so much information, what do you believe? One day, eating carrots is good for you, the next day, its not so good. This information overload is causing a great scattering of our minds. Society as a whole has almost become schizophrenic. Up is down and down is up! Sadly, very few seem to have much of a grasp on reality anymore and I wonder if some of this is due to our culture being saturated and distracted with TOO much information!

I would venture to say it is next to impossible to fix your mind on something that changes on a daily basis or on the whimsical feelings of someone else! If we are going to achieve any thing of worth in our lives, we are going to have to make up our minds on what we want and then FOCUS. Noel Peebles said, "What you choose to focus your mind on is critical because you will become what you think about most of the time." Therefore, it is vital that we have to set our hearts on what it is that we want to accomplish!  When a ship throws an anchor over board the whole idea is for that anchor to grab hold of something that does not move. When the anchor grabs hold, the ship will remained fixed in that location. The wind and the waves will not cause the anchor to give way and the ship will continue hold its mark!
Sir Winston Churchill said, "It is a mistake to try to look too far ahead. The chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time." The distractions of this life and world are inherently fixed on keeping you un-anchored and manipulated. If your life is distracted, tormented, or seemingly out of step with reality, then maybe its time to take a step back and reevaluate what it is that you truly desire in life. Put your phone down, step away from the computer, turn the television and the radio off, its time to get a new prescription and make an adjustment on your vision! 

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