Friday, December 06, 2019

You saw not the darkness and heard not the storm

Racehorses wear blinders. 

Their trainers believe these small squares of firm leather and plastic attached to the bridle on the horse’s head channel their vision. Blinders cut down the scope of their sight, they say, keeping horses focused on what is in front of them. 

That way, they’re not distracted or spooked by the crowds, bushes, poles, competing horses or jockeys around them. 

Eyes on the prize, my little pony. 

The debatable issue, however, is whether or not it’s possible to become focused to a fault. Because extremes in almost anything accomplish nothing. 

And so, as a thought experiment, consider a flip side to the focus equation. 

Have you ever been so focused on the goal that you missed new information? Have you ever been so focused on perfecting the task at hand that you failed to pay attention to the changing world around you? Have you ever been so focused on your destination that you didn’t take the time to reward yourself for what you achieved along the journey? 

In each of these cases, focus reaches a point of diminishing returns. And because we are not racehorses, because we are merely frail flesh machines, it may be unsafe to intentionally limit the vastness of our vision. 

With blinders, we see not the darkness and hear not the storm. 

The final thing is, focus also depends on how it’s defined. My understanding of the word comes from a place of identity, not activity. For me, focus was not about hammering one nail all my life, but hammering lots of nails, one way, all my life. It was not about following my passion, but letting my passion follow me. 

Because that race requires no finish line, only those who love to run. 

Ultimately, blinders might be your answer. Relentless, focused effort to the exclusion of everything else could be exactly what you need to win. 

Then again, nuzzling in succulent swathes of summer grazing pasture sounds like a win too.

LET ME ASK YA THIS...
What do you have to give up to focus on what will set you apart?

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  
scott@hellomynameisscott.com
www.nametagscott.com

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