We hear about focus everywhere.
There are motivational posters to encourage us, and the internet is full of its homage to productivity.
“When you focus on what you want, everything else falls away.”
“Remember, we get what we focus on.”
(There’s also a clever acronym that I’ve heard but unfortunately it’s not appropriate to share here.)
All Hail Focus!
It keeps us and our thoughts centralised and lessens our distractions. Who can deny its ability to help us to organise, and be productive? When faced with a deadline, how many times do we berate ourselves with “for goodness sake FOCUS!” (Or perhaps something, ahem, similar?) When spoken aloud, this one little word can convey a note of encouragement, or to another, a paragraph of accusation. It’s a crafty thing this focus.
We all know it’s impossible to function in this society without the ability to focus or concentrate. Socially, we all hate the guy who won’t listen when we’re talking, and get frustrated with the workmate who has to be shown something five times. Of course it’s dangerous to get behind the wheel without proper levels of concentration, and how would a novel ever be written without an author’s determination and focus on the story line? There’s no doubt that being able to focus is an invaluable tool, but what if we’re concentrating so much on maintaining our focus ,that we miss something even more important?
Concentrating only on our focus narrows our ability to see anything else. Who hasn’t tripped over the cat, or bumped into a wall we just ‘didn’t see’ because our focus was elsewhere? We should aim to be observant and aware while still maintaining focus.
We spend so much time looking at the bright shiny object before us, that we may miss the depth of something that’s in the background or just out of view. These are the things waiting to be discovered; and they’re usually found out of focus.
Anything that is out of focus is mysterious. There’s so much to be discovered within that mystery, that it encourages creativity and open us up to new thoughts.
Our focus helps us to work, but the things we notice on the periphery, encourage us to dream and create.
If we place too much importance on focus, we may miss the incredible details and ideas that lay just outside of our vision. The something lurking just beyond, and it’s waiting to be fantastic. How many times has a side story turned out to be the richer tale once it has come into view?
In life as well as writing, don’t become so focused that you miss the spectacular, and spend your time tripping over cats, and bumping into walls.