46. Antennas up – find it – use it

“I’ve got a bad habit of zoning out, a little, now and then. Not a total blank mouth-open kind of absent-minded losing it, but more just a loss of attention. It amazes me, those people you see sometimes, who are able to have the TV blaring or music going and still be able to read a detailed article or a serious book, or put together a great job application letter. I’ve actually asked people who had that ability how they did it, and from what they said it seemed it was just having the knack of being able to get into a ‘zone’ or into the ‘flow of things’ and focus on whatever they needed to… to sort of make the outside world and its distractions disappear.

“But I can so easily lose sight of things, and it’s annoying too.” How Benny imagined this, which he hasn’t spelled out for you here, is to think of the elements he knows he should be attentive to as being on the other side of a glass tank full of clear water, and therefore in sight and visible, but that this water is easily churned up by his being distracted and disturbed. The annoying part for him is how the disturbances are generally inconsequential too. That’s one way to think of it.

“But I knew that could happen, that I can lose sight of things I’d be better focused on because of stupid diversions, and be blind to something that should really be getting my attention. But you know what it’s like, what with those here-there-ness commotions, the multitasking we’re all meant to be immersed in and instant internet distractions… I’ve really got to pay attention to my paying attention. In fact that rings a bell… something about losing attention, a kid falling off a hand rail at the beach, or about how good it would be to have a default setting that would mean inattention becomes a sort of reminder about attentiveness.

“Having less to remember about staying on track would be a help.”

Listen, there’s probably just three elements Benny really needs to stay focused on, or at least not lose sight of entirely. One is the fact that there’s guidance out there to be had and absorbed in here, that change and development is possible, is do-able, and has and will make a real improvement. He could think of that as keeping his antenna up for inspiration. Then there’s the practicality of the elements he has found — what he can end up with are very real outcomes, usable and evolutionary. He can keep that in mind as an appreciation of results. And then there’s keeping a disciplined approach. Benny has found a way to work with himself in the midst of everyday life, and that’s worth striving to be diligent about.

So that’s what I’ll try to draw his attention to. To not let these focus points fade.

< Chapter 45 Chapter 47 >

Chapter index and link to slogans