Have your pick and regain focus

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Have you ever felt overwhelmed with choices? Doesn’t it seem like there is an endless list of things we could decide to concentrate our attention, time, money and life on? 

Where I come from, we are asked very young to decide what we will study, and basically become and work with for the rest of our lives. I was always really frustrated with that and grew up to be a Jack of all trades, master of none. Or so it feels. Jumping from one activity to another, falling in and out of love with piano, dancing, theatre, english lessons, rock music, historical biographies, tennis, sign language, swimming…and the list goes on. It was, still is, fun to want to try it all, but it also feels unsettling to never go into the depth of things.

Wanting to do it all also inevitably adds on to your stress level and let’s face it, it doesn’t matter if it says so on your resumé (like it does on mine), no one ever properly master multitasking! And so, at the old age of 31, I felt the need to finally pick.

I decided to start training my ability to focus.

Focus on a few key area for me to explore and grow in this year.

So I gave myself one exercise over the break: finding out what to focus on in 2018. What are the three or four areas I feel I need to improve, explore, discover, learn from.

I sat in front of an A3 sheet of paper for a good 30 minutes with a pen in hand, drawing a blank. I had nothing. Or too many things. I just could not pick. So I chose another angle. Instead I “drew” my year 2017. I pointed out the key events, key people, and next to it, I wrote down the feelings, causes and outcomes that went with them. And through that, I eventually was able to identify those 3 or 4 themes. It was exhilarating! Afterwards, it also reminded me of my friend Kenneth’s awesome article about finding your purpose.

Regardless of whether you will use the outcomes and put something into practice, I would definitely recommend anyone to take some time to reflect on what you really feel you want to work on as the new year starts instead of just listing ready-made and never-kept new year’s resolutions. “Go to the gym” is great, but how does “discovering what health truly means for me” sound instead?

That being said, better focus for me is a work in progress. As I am writing this, I have 19 windows open on my computer, my phone is buzzing next to me while I am listening to a TED talk. Bad habits die hard.


By: Mo Oléron