Manage Distractions

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No one single person that I know to have achieved their goals have done so without laser-focus attention to the desired end state. They know that losing sight of their end goal leads to missed opportunities, frustration and stress. The common thread among these individuals is that they anticipate challenges and put a risk mitigation plan to remain on track. 

This is in stuck contrast to those who do not achieve their goals because they throw their hands in the air and say that life happens. There are so many distractions in our lives and if you are not careful, you will be forever wishing for a different life.  

Yes, I’m one of the people that encourage people to have fun while pursuing their goals. This is important because some people believe that a laser focus attention towards your goals leads to a straight-jacketed life. Having said that, I encourage people to have a clear distinction between fun and distraction. The Merriam Webster dictionary defines fun as “what provides amusement or enjoyment”. It also defines distraction as “ an object that directs one’s attention away from something else”. 

If your fun distracts you from your goals, then it is not worth it. You cannot serve fun at the expense of your goals (related article: think long term). I am saying this because I have come across people both in person and on social media who say that you must “live a little”, “get a life”, “you are so serious about life”. That’s all good, however, what they wish for their lives, what they espouse their goals to be and what they do,  are worlds apart. 

I have also realised that sometimes people use “fun” to derail themselves from focusing on the things that matter in life. Viktor Frankl once said, “when people can’t find a deep sense of meaning, they distract themselves with pleasure”. 

Here is a list of common distractions that stand between you and your goals. Before you rake up a litany of excuses why these are necessary, or before you accuse me of promoting a “boring life”, ask yourself, as indicated above, if the amount of time spent on these activities is moving you closer to your goals or not:

  • Sleep: anytime you feel tired you jump into bed only to wake up 9 or 10 hours later justifying that your body needs rest.
  • Television: playing catch up on the entire series of soapies, followed by three premier league soccer matches under the guise of relaxation. 
  • Social media: responding to every message and jokes that come through your digital device. 
  • Social life: boys and girls night out, spending hours with people that are trying to impress each other. 

All of these examples are about FOMO (fear of missing out), be it social life or spending money on things that you don’t need just to fit in. 

You have a choice, either you sharpen your focus or to dwell in things that distract you from the life you deserve. At the end of it all, you have what it takes to be focused, taking each step one day at a time towards your goals or taking the same amount of time and energy to mess up your life. 

Tex Hlalele is a Personal Mastery, Leadership & Organisational Effectiveness Specialist. Book Tex to help you and your team gain insights and possibilities for individual learning and organizational advancement on +2764 656 6174 or visit http://www.dreamsmadepossible.co.za/contact.html. He is the author of the book, Face the person in the mirror.

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