Focus, and the art of selective hearing

150 150 David DeWolf

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.