Focus, and the art of selective hearing

I remember very well the pain I caused my Mom when I was young as I intently scoured baseball box scores, watched a Red Sox game, or built Legos. It wasn’t the activities that killed her, it was my being oblivious to anything else that was going on that suck in her craw. I think she honestly thought I was ignoring her. Unfortunately, I literally couldn’t hear.

Now I feel sorry for my poor wife, Teresa. It’s bad enough that I have been unable to resolve my hearing problem and she is my new victim. She sent me to the doctor a few years ago and he confirmed that I had the syndrome commonly known as “being male.”  Unfortunately for her, this seems to be a hereditary defect. Our 7-year-old son has displayed similar symptoms, and I suspect our 2-year-old has the same disease. Today he started to show signs that he has the same ability to tune out everything around him.

As with all things in life, I do believe that you can learn something from our disorder. So what is it that this natural skill my boys and I have of “tuning out” can teach us? Focus.

Too many people think that focus is the ability to tune in to something. It’s not just tuning in that’s important. Focus is also all about tuning out everything else. If you want to have incredible focus, learn to say “No” often. Are you struggling to get something important checked off your to-do list? Start saying “No” to the urgent things that seem to always take priority. Is your business struggling to land clients in your target market? Start saying “No” to those that aren’t in it.

Learning to focus is a great skill to have. To put it into action, start practicing the art of saying “No.” I guarantee it will pay dividends. You might make your significant other a little bit angry, but whatever you’re doing will be done well.

One Comment Add yours

  1. David H. DeWolf says:

    I thought this was a good response that I got from my mom. She's not exactly the blogger type, but given this email, she probably should be. I figured I'd post it here for a second perspective.I love the photo of that cutie pie!Regarding the message–May I respond "like" a blogger? ! One of my jobs at Angelus Academy is to teach etiquette. Your message brought to mind one of the lessons I teach about the importance of "human" contact in this world of convenient electronic devices. I agree that the ability to say "no" to other important issues in order to get a top priority accomplished is important. However, perhaps in your message an additional line of thinking would include the realization that I must be thoughtful about the things (people) I tune out! Focus, yes. Tuning out other pressing "to do's", yes. But like other messages on the blog (which I enjoyed reading and will return to) "the few minutes given to an individual are worth their weight in gold". –recognition, a thank you, eye contact, quick follow through on a request, a sincere greeting…. All those considerations speak volumes, and also take training –and maybe the development of self control–which start at young ages.Perhaps I'm just the voice of an older generation with a message that is no longer relative.–but your words on other blogs are a testament to the fact that indeed, that message may be more valuable now than ever.xoxo,mom :)p.s. I never thought you were deliberately ignoring me!! Focus on the personal activity at hand to the exclusion of the rest of the world is a normal characteristic of most teens! That's why I teach what I teach–just to try to make kids aware of the importance of "others". 🙂

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