In society today there are so many different distractions that call for our attention. We have mundane tasks at work, mindless games on our phones, social networks and random cat videos on YouTube. With so much vying for our time and attention how do we find a sense of mindfulness?
I recall in my youth going ice fishing with my best friend and his father. We always loved these outings because it meant being outside. We would pack our 5 gallon buckets with snacks, lures, powerboat, warm hat and gloves and our short fishing poles. We would then take the 90 minute drive up to the lake. Over that entire drive of rocking out to Jethro Tull in his dad’s truck we were filled with anticipation. It was always talk of how big the fish were going to be and who would catch the biggest one.
Well, finally the time arrived, we made it to the lake. We then would grab our buckets and head out onto the ice. His dad helped us use the auger to drill out our holes in the ice. We baited our line with a jig and some goopy bait. Then our buckets went upside down and our bait went in through the hole into the lake.
For maybe 10 minutes we sat bobbing our line up and down. I never can recall who made the first move, but invariably we were both leaving our poles in the water and running for the deepest snow bank or highest hill. We had lost focus. We let the impatient distractions of being young boys take over.
Now think about your life. How often is the goal exciting? It may keep you up at night, thinking about, waiting for the moment to come. You may dream of how much you may do or how big the fish may be. Then, the moment finally comes and you are so close, but the next (and often final) task seems too hard or boring. You have now been lost in the distraction of the snow.
After goofing around for a while we come back to our rods bare and frozen and his father with a string full of trout. Because of his focus and persistence he reached his goal. It wasn’t without trial. Often he had to cycle through bait, drill multiple holes, and patiently wait. All the effort paid off for him.
We lost focus of the goal. We stopped trying when it seemed to not be fun anymore. We failed to achieve our desired outcome because we lacked patient focus. If we keep our eye fixed we will do the hard things and achieve greatness.
Being mindful starts with dedicated focus. It takes a lot of work to remain focused. It may seem more fun to go off and play in the snow, but if we want to grow and improve we need to focus on our goal. It is going to take work. We need to focus, work and remain dedicated.