How To Get Focused: Accept, Trust, Let Go

man, ocean
image: Carmine

Would you use a single tea bag to try to flavour the entire Atlantic Ocean?

Of course not, the tea would become so diluted it would be virtually non-existent. You wouldn’t see it, you wouldn’t taste it.

And yet this is exactly what happens with our ability to create and give our full attention and energy when we spread ourselves too thinly across a dozen or more different projects. We’re throwing tea bags into oceans.

Because we’re darting from one project to the next so frantically, we never give any of them the chance to properly evolve or become something wonderful.

Is there any alternative?

Is there a way to become focused and apply all your energy in one direction, so you’re fully engaging that incredible creativity and passion within you?

There’s no complex and convoluted answer to this. It’s simply: “Yes, there is a way.”

That way is simply to focus on one thing at a time. Which seems like we’re stating the obvious, I know.

And when we start talking about doing JUST one project, most of us creative artist types start to get twitchy very quickly.

“But I’m creative, I have all these amazing ideas I need to develop, and they need to be expressed in a dozen different media, and they all need to be done immediately because I have a whole fresh new batch of creative ideas scheduled to arrive at any moment, and I have no IDEA where I going to be able to put them if I don’t get some of these current ones completed and moved along and out the door.”

You feel like the owner of a small hotel that accommodates 20 guests, but no sooner have 20 been shown to their rooms than another 20 come in through the lobby demanding to be fed and housed too. And another 20 have just arrived in a coach outside.

This is a major problem and block to getting focused – the obligation (created by ourselves) to house every guest, to develop every single great idea we have.

Stop for a moment and think about the logic here. Or the absence of logic!

Say you have a new idea every hour of every day. So, day one, you have 24 new ideas. How long might it take you to develop them? Maybe if one is a poem it might take half an hour or an hour. But maybe another of these ideas is for a painting. Maybe that’ll take in total 10 or 20 or 50 hours, or more. Maybe another of these new ideas is for a movie. That would take in total hundreds and thousands of hours to being into fruition. How is this going to ever get done when tomorrow you’re likely to have another 24 new ideas?

The solution is about acceptance, trust and letting go.

We simply must accept that we will have many, many times more ideas than we will ever be able to develop in our lifetime. Or even in a hundred lifetimes. That’s just the way it is. Remember it’s a gift that you ARE that creative.

The longer you fight the truth that only a fraction of your ideas can be developed, the harder you’ll find it to get focused on any one idea, and you won’t ever be able to give your full amazing creativity and attention to a single project.

The good news about this though, is that it allows us to pick the ideas that are REALLY important. The ones that matter. The ones that will change your life. And quite possibly the lives of others too. And you let the others go.

As soon as we become a little more discerning like this, we begin to create with a new level of focus and attentiveness.

This is where the trust comes in. If an idea is important enough, it will find you, and it will make itself heard. If it gets overlooked the first time, it’ll come back to remind you, in a slightly different form. And this will continue, until it gets the attention it requires. You’ve just got to trust it, and yourself.

Imagine there’s a wonderful party in your head, and to get invited inside you have to have the most amazing fancy dress costume. Only the most creative and inventive costumes in the land will be allowed into this exclusive party.

These ideas that are most important in your life, will keep returning in slightly different costumes, until they’re let into the party. Even if they get turned away a hundred times at the door. They’ll keep coming back.

Trust that the ideas you most need to develop will find you.

How do you know which these ones are, the ideas that are the most important, when so many seem to excite and inspire you and demand your time?

The answer is simply the ones that you can’t ignore.

Pay close mind to the themes and patterns in the ideas that come to you. Soon you’ll start seeing common threads, and you’ll know there’s the kernel of an idea that’s similar in all them that you must evolve in some way. You can’t ignore it. It’ll keep coming and knocking on your door in its different costumes until you welcome it in.

Acceptance, trust, letting go. These are the essential beginnings of getting focused and being more creative, perhaps being fully creative and engaged for the first time ever.

– Accept that you will never have the time to develop the majority of your ideas.

– Trust that the ones you do need to develop will reveal themselves to you, and make themselves heard.

– Let go of the need to give your attention to everything, and focus on those that really matter, the ones you can’t ignore.

This is a very powerful preparation to getting focused. The next step is simply picking one project, and getting down to creating. But you don’t need me to go and do that.

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