It’s both a gift and a curse that I possess an innate ability to be interested in a multitude of things in life. It’s both amazing, that I can entertain myself with the smallest ounce of curiosity, yet it’s also a burden - stealing my concentration and requiring constant self-discipline to stay focused. I am thankful though that I have an affection for so many things in life. The majority of my passions involve movement and physicality, be it; dance, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, climbing or riding some kind of board on concrete, water or snow. As well as physical skills, I’m interested in many intellectual pursuits such as reading, writing, studying and language learning. I also create artistic work in a range of mediums (dance, music, text). I really dislike not knowing how to do something, which in turn pushes me to constantly try and practise new skills. This includes doing my young daughters’ hair each day. I have no real passion for hair per se, but I truly hate the thought of her walking into school looking like a bird’s nest because her dad doesn’t know how to arrange her hair nicely. Because of this, I’m constantly busy with something. Saying ‘I’m bored’ isn’t something I often do, as the comedian Louis CK refutes it – “You live in a great, big, vast world that you’ve seen none percent of. Even the inside of your own mind is endless; it goes on forever inwardly…so you don’t get to say I’m bored.”(1)
The unfortunate downside to all those interests is that it’s a double-edged sword. I have become a ‘jack of all trades’ and regrettably the proverbial – ‘master of none’. My mind is too easily swayed by the constant need for novelty, making it difficult to stay focused on one element long enough to make notable progress. While my enthusiasm rises for my current craft, a new seed emerges in my mind, slowly developing and morphing into a shepherd’s crook, drawing me towards the new skill. At times, I feel a tremendous jealousy towards those around me who have a sole purpose. A singular passion that gets them up each morning and keeps their spirit occupied throughout the day.
Clearly, if I was to focus my time and attention on one aspect of life, I would progress much faster. My full attention and 100% of my energy would go into developing, improving, refining and mastering my craft. Spread across multiple disciplines, my attention rotates on an almost seasonal cycle, devoting a percentage of my time to each, shifting to the next, and eventually returning once again a few months later. Enthusiastically buying up all the equipment needed and diving into researching the best techniques for improving. After a while, the tipping point is reached as my interest in ‘the next thing’ outweighs my persistence in ‘the current one’, which is where my problem lies.
I’ve researched a fair bit about staying focused over the last year or two. A lot of it comes down to two factors; realism and discipline. Being realistic in the sense that I have to understand that I am only human and have a very finite amount of time on my hands, so prioritizing what means most to me, allows me to focus my efforts. That can of course change, and most likely will shift o