Breaking free from distractions to focus on what moves you.

“If you are trying to do everything, you will fail at everything.”

—Matt D’Avella

With all of the fancy new gadgets coming out every other day, there exists a pull to do multiple things at once. New features provide new opportunities to do something that’s never been done before.

We explore these options, being the pioneers that we are. We take the plunge into the world of interest, searching for another way of reaching a larger audience faster, quicker, and with more hype.

It’s not enough that our backs are already burdened by what we started last year. No, there’s a need to start something fresh, something more exciting. This time, we’ll knock it out of the park (so we assume). That’s how the story usually goes.

But this is nothing more than the deception of multitasking. Sooner than later, we realize that nothing gets accomplished when everything is the goal.

The Issue with “New”

It’s a new year. And with each new year comes the notorious new year resolutions. New adventures. New challenges. New, new, new.

Maybe that book will get published this time around. Perhaps that goal of reaching 20,000 people on your blog will come true. Those pounds are going down for sure this year.

What we often forget about, however, is the “new” adventures we dropped last year. The road we found challenging because of the load we’d placed on our backs, trying to make it big in both lanes instead of focusing on one.

It’s hard to focus on improving if your eyes are bouncing back and forth from one goal to another. If there’s going to be any chance of growing, any sign of moving closer to your dream, there has to be a realization of concentrating on what matters most.

You should be striving to get better. But the secret to getting better is practicing one thing at a time.

More often than we care to admit, there’s more of a multitasking way-of-life going on for most of us. These days it’s popular to find people chipping away at three or four different objectives.

So-and-so is doing that over there, so I’ll just add that to my list of “goals.”

As much as I acknowledge my love-hate relationship with social media, it doesn’t help to look around at other people when you’re trying to reach a predetermined destination.

Their shiny ideas somehow seem a lot better than what I’d conjured up in my head. It turns out, you actually have to want to pursue your own dream, not the one you were distracted by.

Why? Because they never last that way. They don’t stick with you because they were never a part of you. They belong with someone else.

As soon as we’re out the door chasing the newest gig we were “inspired” to follow, our original plan goes out the window. And so does the need to be consistent in what we start.

This, of course, leads to a life full of the same old bad habits. Strong start, missing finish. The cycle never ends. That is until we recognize our problem of striving in all available directions.

It’s killing us, this cycle. A trend that makes us seem more productive, it locks us into a cage of someone else’s imaginations. Funny thing is we have the key to escape. We just don’t use it.

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

Accepting the Challenge of Saying No

Outside of this cage lies the freedom we’ve always longed for but often misunderstood. This freedom is the kind that releases us from the bondage of our distractions. It allows for a primary focus on our own pursuits, away from our tendencies to look out and despise what is in.

Most of us are content with going year after year exchanging goals with ones we’ve come across recently. They fell through, so we might as well do something else.

When will we ever get tired of doing that? Of piling on dreams as though there is no need to hone in on one at a time?

Consequently, you lose track of how far you’ve come. Progress becomes a byword. Freshness is what matters. When an idea seems stale, it’s more convenient to toss it in the trash like used paper towels.

If you want to make your pursuits stick, identify what you want to see out of doing what you love.

What would you like to happen? Go after that, fail, learn, and repeat. But don’t drop it because something shiny catches your eye.

You’ll never follow through on anything that way. You have to ignore the noise and zone in on what matters to you. As hard as it may seem, you have to say no.

In the long run, it will be one of the best decisions you ever made. I’ve seen countless stories of people (even here on Medium) who started off slow. At a stage when most people give up and carry on with their lives elsewhere, they stuck with it.

They kept doing it because it mattered to them, and it paid off. It was cool to see that person doing this-and-that over there. But they were content with what brought them joy and excitement for the long haul.

The same goes for you in whatever sphere of life correlates with your dream. Take your time. Soak in the process with openness and understanding. And focus on that one, important thing.

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