When I wrote that post I didn't intend to make it into a series, but I feel inspired to do so with the following post and some others along the same lines that I have brewing. You can find links to all of the posts in this "Without Complexity" series at the side bar to the right.
My thoughts lately have been about living an uncomplicated life; about learning how to be an uncomplicated person. Our lifestyles as Americans have become way too complex and stressful. If the trends in many of the blogs that I read are correct, I'm not alone in thinking along these lines. We so easily lose sight of our purpose in the busyness of life.
I've been inspired lately to simplify the way I live. This includes everything from decluttering my physical surroundings to the way I think and process life. At the moment I am contemplating the issue of focus. This is the beginning. Are we able to focus on the important, or the task at hand and finish it without being bogged down and caught up in tangents?
My son unknowingly taught me a lesson recently. He was helping me edit and process some of my photos. We were uploading some of my images to his computer and I mentioned that I had other pictures on my flash card that he hadn't yet seen but would be interested in. They didn't pertain to our project, but I knew he'd want to see them nonetheless. He went straight to the images he was after for our current project and didn't even have a quick glance through the others. I silently noted his single-mindedness. We finished our project quickly and efficiently and moved on from there to other things. We didn't get bogged down, sidetracked or distracted because he was focused on the project at hand.
I find that I can waste much time being distracted. The things that capture my attention aren't wrong but they are usually things that keep me from finishing a project in a timely manner, or sometimes even from finishing at all. I've been susceptible to distraction for most of my life. I tend to flit around from here to there and back again and spend a whole day accomplishing nothing of any value. Value, of course, is subjective, but I can fritter away a lot of time with nothing I value to show for it. And more importantly, I can fritter time away with nothing of eternal value (value in God's estimation) to show for it. I want the testimony of my life in general to be that I pleased God and was productive in the things that matter.
In the past, and especially as a child and teenager, I often didn't complete projects that I started. My tendency has been to find the easy way and discontinue pursuits that required me to learn something new or perfect a skill in order to excel. Not that I haven't excelled at certain pursuits...it's just that I tend to stick with what comes easily for me and avoid challenges. This is another subject altogether: challenges and the growth that comes from rising to meet them. I won't go there for now, instead I will focus (!) on the subject at hand!
I lacked focus. And apparently I still do. (See above paragraph!)
I believe that a short attention span in adults is usually a result of lack of discipline of the mind. The causes for this are myriad and the purpose of this post is not an expose on those causes. I'll save that for another time. Maybe. (Again! Focus!)
So. My focus for the present is just that: focus. Single mindedness. How to obtain discipline of mind.
The Bible tells us that a double minded man is unstable in all his ways (James 1:8). It also tells us in another portion of scripture that the people who know their God shall be strong and do exploits (Daniel 11:33b) (emphasis mine). This means that the first key to doing exploits, or productivity, as I perceive it, is to know God. When I am double minded and vacillate between this and that my productivity is minimal. Productivity isn't the be all and end all of life, but I believe it's a critical element in maintaining one's dignity as a human being. So the key here is knowing God. The bottom line in all of life, really, is knowing God.
Photo credit: http://www.c4rlh.com/iphone/free-wallpapers/