This one should be a little bit more straight forward. In discussing distraction, it’s important to understand focus. Short term focus is easy to lose. Long term focus is difficult to recognize. Both of these statements feel discouraging. It is definitely in vogue to talk about distractability. Everything is a distraction on so many levels that to really dive into that would take away from the point I’m attempting to wrangle together here. Seriously though, at some point even trying to pay attention to everything that is going on just starts to feel like a distraction. The other option is blissful unawareness of anything happening on a global scale. Imagine not knowing that Australia is on fire. Imagine having no knowledge of the current goings on in the middle east. Imagine having no real concept of where the middle east is or why there would even be conflict there. I don’t think John Lennon had sticking our head in the sand in mind when he wrote his version of that day dream. The world keeps turning though, and all we can hope is that we are here to see that continue to happen. How much of knowing about it is useful though? At the same time it feels very privaleged to be handed a live stream to an amount of human thought and be like, “nah.” Proponents would make points about how the connectiveness has helped and it definitely has. We now more than ever can understand how similar the world has become. We can gain an overview understanding of nearly anything we can think up keywords to. And it gets updated recklessly fast. But then feeling connected makes you feel isolated because you are just sitting there soaking in it and letting the currents of human consciousness and tensions flow from your glowing palm directly into your eyeballs. But then you’ve lost an hour or three and you haven’t accomplished anything you set out to do. At some point it’s just discipline, but that requires something to stick to.
Which finally brings us full circle to my original point about getting distracted and how to count successes in the long term. The term that really counts because it generates the factor known as consistency. Stoics would probably tell you that focusing on one thing is just the most you should aim for. I say that’s great if you can, but good luck. I’d say recognize how much you can actually maintain. Some things take only certain amounts of time and some end up being complimentary. Anything that contributes to the things you have determined to be your long term goals counts as a success. Period. Screw anyone that says other wise. As long as you actually did something as opposed to just thinking about doing it. If the goal is to ride your bike more, anything you get in terms of saddle time counts. Just enjoy it and be in it. And sometimes go for a spin around the block even if it’s a weird hour. Sometimes you might still fail to check every box, but don’t discount the ones you have checked off. Perfection doesn’t exist. Perfection exists only in your mind and even then is constantly shifting. Lost as soon as you found it.
This all assumes you’ve found something to shoot for. There’s plenty of good reasons to do anything and an equal number of bad reasons. At some point you just have to choose. And if it doesn’t work, then choose something else or pick a different approach. If that still doesn’t work, then consider giving up. Take an inventory of where you are and really think about what you are looking for in the change. Maybe nothing is missing and you just want more from something than it has to give. Sometimes things just are what they are, but our attitudes about that can make them miserable and intolerable. These days almost any shift can be made with consistent effort. It’s often the sticking to it that’s difficult. This isn’t anything new, but maybe the more it gets said the more people will understand the breadth of the issue.